You got the letter you didn’t want to receive. The Social Security Administration has denied your disability claim. Yet, you need and deserve these benefits.
A denial letter often causes understandable anger and anxiety, but your claim doesn’t have to be over. You can still get Social Security disability benefits if you qualify for benefits and know what to do next.
Your Denial Letter Provides Essential Information About Your Appeal
The denial letter may provide you with critical information about why your claim was denied and what information you need to provide for a successful appeal. As you read your letter, look for common denial letter phrases, such as:
- Non-Severe. Non-severe means that the Social Security Administration doesn’t believe your condition is significant enough to meet disability eligibility requirements.
- Does Not Meet an Impairment Listing. The Social Security Administration maintains a Listing of Impairments (sometimes referred to as the Blue Book.) You qualify for disability benefits if you have a condition that meets a specific Blue Book listing. However, this is not the only way to qualify for benefits.
- Other Work. The Social Security Administration may determine that you can do “other work” and, therefore, deny your disability claim. Other work refers to work that’s different than what you’ve done in the past and that the Social Security Administration thinks you can do based on your skills, education, experience, and age.
- Past Relevant Work. The Social Security Administration may decide that you can still perform the same kind of work that you did in the past, even with your stated disabilities.
Additionally, each section of the denial letter should be checked carefully for errors. For example, the letter will include a List of Medical Sources. In this section, the Social Security Administration will include the medical sources it relied on in making its determination. This section should be reviewed to make sure that it includes all of the medical sources you provided and to identify any sources you did not provide.
It may seem overwhelming to make sense of a Social Security disability denial letter on your own, but you don’t have to do it alone. Instead, you can share the letter with an experienced Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyer who can decipher the letter for you and advise you about your legal options.
File an Appeal Before It’s Too Late
Your Social Security denial letter has a date on the top. You have 60 days from the date of the letter to file an appeal.
Your appeal begins when you file an Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report before the 60-day deadline expires. Typically, the first step in the appeals process is reconsideration. If your claim is not approved, your appeal may go to a hearing before an administrative law judge. After that, your claim may be heard by the appeals council and then in federal district court if it is not approved at an earlier stage of appeal.
A Denial Doesn’t Have to Be the End of Your Social Security Disability Benefits
The majority of initial Social Security disability applications are denied, and many people go on to file successful appeals.
The process may be frustrating, but you don’t have to handle this alone. Instead, our experienced Social Security disability lawyers will thoroughly review your disability denial letter, review all of your legal options with you, and help you get the benefits you’ve earned through years of paying into the Social Security system.
If you live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation Social Security disability claim evaluation. Our lawyers have extensive experience with the hearing offices in Springfield, MA, Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH. While some Social Security disability lawyers offer nationwide services, we are committed to helping our local communities. We would be happy to meet with you by phone or in our conveniently located Natick office to discuss your Social Security disability appeal.