When most people think about Social Security Disability Benefits, age comes to mind, particularly the over 60 crowd, but in reality, the average 20-year old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled and unable to work before reaching the full retirement age. When you consider possibly missing out on about 40 plus years, due to a disability, it makes social security disability benefits seem even more valuable. Filing for social security benefits can be frustrating and often times disappointing, especially if you, as an applicant are initially denied your chance of receiving benefits. If you have been denied, for any number of reasons, you can file a social security disability appeal. If you have worked, paid into Social Security, and become disabled (and unable to work), you have the right to receive benefits. Like the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Do You Qualify?
On her 40th birthday, Leann was severely injured in a car accident, following her birthday party. Her severe injuries resulted in long lasting traumatic brain injuries. Following the accident, Leann’s injuries were manifested and allowed her to work at her job for a couple of months. After a couple of months of regular work, Leann noticed that symptoms related to her traumatic brain injuries worsened. Within weeks, Leann was no longer able to perform her tasks safely or accurately. After meeting with her doctor, Leann was advised to “take a break” from work until her brain injuries improved or healed; as working any kind of job would be too risky. At a mere 40 years old, Leann was facing financial difficulty and frustration, especially after she was told she was no longer able or allowed to work.
Leann applied for Social Security Disability benefits and according to guidelines, she was considered “disabled” as she was no longer able to work, her medical condition was deemed severe and was listed on the “List of Impairments”, was unable to work any types of jobs or do work she did before. Additionally, Leann had worked (and paid Social Security Taxes) for at least 4 years. Unfortunately, upon her first application process, Leann was denied. The denial reason? Her “severe” injury, while listed on the “List of Impairments”, was questionable. Because Leann had a traumatic brain injury (TBI), more lengthy/prolonged evidence was needed before her injury could truly be classified as an injury. After she met all “guidelines”, Leann was able to receive social security disability benefits, benefits that will ease some of her financial distress.
What about if I think I Qualify, but am I Denied?
Even if you seem to “fit” the Social Security Disability Qualifications, the guidelines are strict and often leave first-time applicants to be denied. If you or someone you know is initially denied, you have a chance to reapply through the social security appeals process. If you are denied, you should consider the following steps if you wish to appeal:
- You must request your appeal, in writing, within 60 days. Don’t delay!
- When SSA sends you a letter about your claim, they will tell you how to appeal their decision, if you have interest in doing so.
- There are four types of the appeals process, including Reconsideration, Hearing by an administrative law judge, Review by the Appeals Council or Federal Court Review.
Depending on the nature of your appeals process, you may request the legal advice of an attorney skilled in Social Security Disability claims.
If you have worked long enough, throughout your lifetime, you are entitled to receive benefits if you have become disabled and unable to work. Will you let an initial denial of benefits keep you from trying to earn the benefits that are rightfully yours?
I received a great deal of help on this article from Jacob Masters, who is a freelance writer and author. He has worked in the health industry for over a decade. His goal in life is to increase the internet knowledge base one article at a time. He also likes to push the boundaries through his city wide evening excursions as a guerilla gardener.