The unfortunate reality is that the majority of initial claims for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. With only approximately 36% of all applications being approved, many people suffering from severe disabilities are denied much-needed monthly benefits. Having an experienced attorney increases your chances for approval. However, legal representation does not guarantee that your claim will be approved.
Our Fayetteville, AR disability attorneys have been helping people obtain the benefits they desperately need for decades. Whether it is your initial claim or an appeal, our team of seasoned lawyers and staff understand what the Social Security Administration requires.
Do not panic if your claim was denied. There is an appeals process in place. Understanding why your claim was denied is the first step in addressing the potential issues. If your disability claim was denied, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 to begin the appeal process.
Contact Our Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyers
If your disability application was denied and you did not have legal counsel when you filed your application, you should contact an experienced disability lawyer before moving forward with an appeal. You want to ensure that your appeal addresses any problems the SSA had with your initial application. The best way to do this is with the help of our Arkansas disability lawyers.
Our attorneys are well-versed with the Social Security benefits and appeals process. You will not have to worry about missing deadlines or making small errors that could cost you your appeal. Many individuals believe they should simply file another claim if their initial one was denied. This is never a good decision. The Social Security Administration will likely deny your application for the same reason your other one was. The appeals process is in place to address denied claims.
Gather Doctor’s Medical Source Statements
One of the major reasons disability claims are denied is because the applicant failed to convince the SSA that their impairment was severe enough to warrant benefits. While you might have provided medical evidence and documentation, it might not have painted a clear picture. The critical element is showing a connection between your condition and your inability to perform the ordinary tasks necessary for your job.
Some of the best evidence you could provide are medical source statements from your treating doctors. These statements allow your doctor to connect your symptoms to your capability to perform daily activities. A clear and comprehensive statement from your doctor places your diagnostic test results and symptoms into a more concrete context.
Your doctor could also complete a residual functional capacity form (RFC). While this should have been submitted with your initial application, you could have your doctor submit a revised RFC if your condition grew worse. An RFC describes how your condition impacts your ability to perform ordinary tasks, such as standing, sitting, concentrating, or walking.
Additional Medical Evidence and Documentation
You may have experienced changes in your medical condition since you originally applied for disability benefits. You should continue to document your medical condition even after you submit your initial claim. Even if you are approved, it could take months or even years. By continuing to compile medical evidence, you will be prepared if you need to file an appeal.
As stated above, the reason most claims are denied is because the applicant failed to demonstrate that their medical condition was severe enough or that it met the SSA’s list of required criteria. When filing an appeal, it is often worth going back to the drawing board. Our Arkansas disability attorneys will work to gather a new collection of extensive medical evidence and documentation.
File for Reconsideration
Once our office has reviewed your denial and gathered additional medical evidence, it is time to begin the formal appeal process. The first option available is filing a request for reconsideration. This request must be filed within 60 days of your denial, so you should contact our Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyers as soon as possible.
When you file for reconsideration, you are asking the SSA to review your entire case. A case specialist who was not involved with your original claim will have the job of reviewing your original application and medical documentation. However, you are not limited to the evidence you submitted with your initial claim. You should submit additional materials.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
If you are not pleased with the decision after requesting a reconsideration of your claim, you are entitled to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings are conducted locally – well, as locally as possible. The SSA will try to schedule it within a 75-mile radius.
During the hearing, our Springdale disability lawyers could present additional evidence, including having medical experts testifying your condition’s severity. Additionally, the ALJ could ask you questions or question any witnesses that testify on your behalf. Once the evidence is presented, the ALJ will uphold the SSA’s decision or grant you benefits.
The final step in the SSA appeals process is requesting a review by the Appeals Council. Your request must be made within 60 days of the ALJ’s decision. While you are permitted to present new evidence, it must be new material related to the time of or before your ALJ hearing. If the Appeals Council decides to review your claim, there are three potential outcomes. First, the Appeals Council will uphold the ALJ’s decision and deny your benefits. Second, your claim for disability benefits could be granted. Finally, the Appeals Council could remand your case back to the ALJ for further review.
Contact Our Arkansas Disability Lawyers if Your Benefits Claim Was Denied
Our Harris disability lawyers are here to help you if your claim for disability benefits was denied. Our law offices have the resources and knowledge to fight for the benefits you deserve. Call (479) 316-0438 to take the first step in the appeals process.