March 23, 2011

I Have Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits and I Don’t Know What To Do Next!

Indiana residents that have been denied Social Security disability benefits often wonder what to do next in order to get the benefits they deserve. Statistically, it is stated that nearly 2% of Americans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits each year. SSDI and SSI benefits are available to those individuals with a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions preventing them from working working for twelve consecutive months or longer or expected to be unable to work for 12 months. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of these claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the initial stage of the claims process. Once denied, many disability claimants wonder what to do next.

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis often encourages his disability clients to be patient and to not panic. Although the claimant was denied initially, there may be hope for winning your claim. Even though the Social Security disability appeals process is long and may be complicated, it can be manageable and ultimately your claim may be approved.

Once the disability claimant receives their initial denial by the SSA, the claimant should file an appeal within 60 days from the date of the decision letter.  Most of the time, appeals can be filed online at the SSA’s website.  The first appeal the claimant must file is the “Request for Reconsideration.”  This appeal is simply asking the SSA to review your claim again for consideration of SSDI or SSI benefits.  Within a certain amount of time, the SSA will either approve or deny this appeal.  Again, don’t stop there!  As stated before, the majority of these claims are denied so it is important to continue the appeals process.  A second appeal must be filed in order to have your disability case heard in from of a judge.  This second appeal can also be filed on the SSA’s website within 60 days of the “Request for Reconsideration” denial letter.  It is important to make the deadlines set by the SSA so you do not have to initiate the claims process again.  The average wait for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the Indianapolis area can be 18 months and in some cases longer.  Attorney Scott Lewis accompanies his clients during this long drawn out process to ultimately fight for his client’s rights at a disability hearing.

Mr. Lewis encourages his disability client’s to continue to visit their doctor(s) regularly and stay on any prescribed medication(s) if necessary while awaiting their hearing. It is also encouraged to document your disabling condition and how it affects your ability to work. When you appear before the judge, carefully explain why your medical symptoms prevent you from working.  Medical evidence may be the key in winning your SSDI or SSI claim.

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