How to win an objection against a Social Security disability
The social security disability appeal process is complex and a small mistake can lead to a negative outcome.
At the national level, approximately 64 percent of initial social security disability claims are denied. However, applicants have the right to appeal the decision of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
While social security is a federal program, each state has a disability assessment office and a disability assessment and review office. Reviews are carried out at the state level. The percentage of successful appointments varies from state to state, but in any case the success rate is significantly higher than the approval of initial applications.
There are four levels of complaint available: reconsideration of the decision, administrative judges’ hearing, review by the complaints committee and appeal to the Federal Supreme Court.
Factors Affecting Appeals
The thoroughness of your appeal application will affect your chances of success. For example, the information in your medical records is critical to objecting to a rejection. In addition, the severity of your illness will depend on whether your claim is approved. Unfortunately, some types of impairment are more difficult to detect.
It is important to be honest and not overdo your condition. However, if you have chronic pain or a mental illness that fluctuates in intensity, it will be more difficult to appeal.
There is no guarantee of success if you object to the denial of your disability benefits by Social Security. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances.
Request your objection in good time
You have sixty days to file an appeal after any decision on your claim. If you fail to meet this deadline, your appeal will likely be rejected. A re-examination request, an administrative judge hearing, or an appeal board review will require the submission of specific documentation, which can be found on the Social Security Administration website or your local Social Security Office. You can also speak to a skilled Philadelphia disability attorney.
Letter of complaint
The required Social Security forms to apply for an appeal provide a small area to explain your position. The first steps in an appeal can be critical, so it is important that you state your position clearly. Attaching an additional letter of complaint to the official form will allow you to carefully outline the questions and problems of the decision.
If the SSA rejects a disability claim, it will deliver a rejection letter to the applicant containing the reasons for establishing the disability or an explanation of the finding. This statement should include the reasons for the rejection of the application, the sources used to evaluate the application, a description of your health status and the assessment of your impairment.
The reason for the finding should serve as a guide for your objection letter. First of all, you should carefully review the information for errors or incorrect information. By using the rejection letter as an outline, you can tailor your response to the issues identified by the SSA. In addition to your written clarification, you should submit any records, statements, documents or other information that support your position. The rejection letter should outline what additional medical evidence is required.
Additional medical evidence
X-ray of a person with a broken collarbone; Image by Harlie Raethel, via unsplash.com.
One of the most common reasons why initial Social Security disability claims are denied is insufficient medical evidence. When filing an appeal, be sure to provide any new medical evidence and documentation that you did not include on your original application. To get this new evidence, speak to your attending physician to see if additional tests are available or if they might provide more evidence that will strengthen your position.
New medical evidence may also include a letter of support from your treating doctor. If you have visited several doctors or specialists, you should also request letters from them. A letter of support or a health statement connects the dots. By explaining your medical treatment in detail and relating your condition to your physical limitations and inability to work, an overall picture of your impairment is created.
During the appeal process, it is important to keep doctor appointments, continue medical treatment, and take prescribed medication. You don’t want to give the impression that you are avoiding treatment to make your condition worse.
Blue book list
The SSA publishes the Blue Book, a more common term for disability assessment in the context of social security. This publication is designed to be used by health professionals in assessing disability claims and lists various appropriate medical conditions and supportive criteria. You should discuss your health status with your doctor to determine if you meet the requirements for a listed condition. In some cases, your impairment may include sub-criteria of several of the listed conditions. Tailoring your evidence to a listed impairment will improve your chances of a positive outcome.
Residual functional capacity (RFC)
In addition to a letter of support, you can ask your doctor to fill out an RFC form for your objection. An RFC is beneficial if your impairment is not listed in the SSA Blue Book. The RFC will detail how your health affects your inability to perform the tasks required for your job. When used in conjunction with a medical opinion, an RFC provides compelling evidence.
Hire an experienced disability attorney
The social security disability appeal process is complex and a small mistake can lead to a negative outcome. You have a right to competent legal representation. While it is possible to win an appeal on your own, especially if you have strong medical evidence, having a skilled Bucks County Social Security attorney who understands the process and can evaluate and collect evidence is invaluable.