The majority of Social Security disability claims are denied at the initial application stage. Although individuals understand their own disability, they may have difficulty conveying the nature of their medical condition to the Social Security Administration. Denied applicants are more likely to receive approval for a Social Security disability claim by appealing the initial denial with the assistance of an attorney.
The advantage of an appeal is that it provides you the opportunity to present your medical evidence in a manner that matches the disability evaluation process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a heavy workload of disability claims, and the agency uses certain guidelines to evaluate each appeal. Much of the evaluation process revolves around the nature of your occupational duties before the disability, as well as your current ability to work.
If your initial application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, there is more than just one way to appeal the decision. Instead of filing an appeal online or through the mail, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. You can even request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council.
Evaluation of medical evidence
Medical opinions from your physicians are needed to determine your ability to work. Even if you are unable to return to your previous line of work, the SSA may consider whether your skills are transferable to a different occupation. The SSA uses the medical evidence and your work history to determine your remaining ability to work.
Residual functional capacity
One of the most important factors used to approve or deny your SSA disability appeal is the estimate of your residual functional capacity. In addition to reports from medical doctors, you can present written statements from other persons who have observed your limitations. All of the evidence is used to determine whether you are considered to retain the capacity to work on a regular and ongoing basis.
Mandatory waiting period
The duration of time required to obtain approval for an SSA disability claim doesn't necessarily lead to a delay in payments. There is typically a mandatory waiting period of five full months between the onset of your disability and the first benefit payment. As a result, the waiting period may be shorter than the time required to gain SSA approval.
You don't have to wait until an initial application for disability benefits is denied to seek legal advice. Contact a law office like McFarland & Masters LLC to help ensure that the next SSA decision made on your behalf is decided favorably.