Denials are far more common than approvals. In fact, a Detroit Social Security disability attorney reports that in any given year, 65 percent or more initial claims are denied.
Detroit social security disability attorney: What Are the Reasons for Denial?
Each case is evaluated on its own merits, but common grounds cited by a Detroit Social Security disability lawyer include:
- The claimant is still working and is earning more than the substantial gainful activity amount as defined by the SSA;
- The claimant does not have enough work credits in total or not enough credits in recent years to be eligible for SSD;
- The claimants medical impairments are not severe enough to prevent them from working past jobs; and
- Although the claimant cannot work past jobs because of medical impairments, they can do other jobs that are available.
Of course, other reasons for denial may be an incomplete application, such as missing or incorrect personal information or a lack of relevant medical records.
Does a Denial Mean a Claimant Cannot Win Disability Benefits?
No, the SSA provides several opportunities for appeal, the first of which is called reconsideration. A request for reconsideration must be made within 60 days of receipt of the Notice of Decision. This is a case review very similar to the initial review made by the state disability determination service, although it will be conducted by a different examiner than the initial determination. Citing SSA statistics, a Detroit Social Security disability attorney reports:
- More than 50 percent of claimant’s who are denied initially do not file for reconsideration; and
- Of those who appeal, over 90 percent are denied again.
Is There an Option After Reconsideration?
Yes. After denial at reconsideration, the claimant has 60 days to request a second appeal. As a Detroit Social Security disability attorney can explain, this is a far different procedure than reconsideration. First of all, this appeal will be conducted as an administrative hearing by an administrative law judge. It is important to note, as a Detroit Social Security disability lawyer emphasizes, that the judge does not consider the findings previously made by the disability examiners and conducts the hearing as a case of first impression.
What Happens at the Disability Appeal Hearing?
The hearing is very much like a mini-trial, although conducted less formally. Evidence is introduced, witnesses testify under oath and the judge will render a written decision on the matter. It is important to not only provide the judge with the claimant’s complete medical record as previously submitted but also to add any new evidence of treatments or diagnoses. Although the medical record provides the foundation for the claim, a Detroit Social Security disability attorney understands that the judge will more likely focus their attention on other testimony.
What Is the Judge Looking for?
The judge wants to hear directly from the claimant regarding how their impairments limit their daily activities and work capabilities. This is different than reading a medical file full of technical information and clinical tests. Additionally, most judges will have a vocational expert testify at the hearing. This is important because they will provide information about jobs that may be available to the claimant in consideration of the impairments from which the claimant is found to suffer. This combination of what the claimant is capable of and what the requirements are of available jobs often is the key issue the judge rules on.
Are There Any Other Avenues of Appeal?
An administrative law judge’s decision may be appealed to the National Social Security Council and from there to federal court, but few cases reach either level and far fewer are decided favorably for the claimant.
Contact a Detroit Social Security Disability Lawyer for Legal Advice
It is important to understand the appeal process in SSD cases. Start with a call to Marc Shefman, a Detroit Social Security disability attorney, at 248-298-3003.