Social Security disability benefits are intended to provide financial support for people who are unable to work because of illness or a disability. That’s why it can be difficult when a person who is eligible for the benefits applies and is denied.
It can be helpful to understand the most common reasons a Social Security disability claim is denied and how to pursue an appeal.
The Social Security Administration receives a high volume of applications and administrative errors by the applicant are one of the most common reasons a claim is denied. If it receives paperwork that is not complete, illegible or not accurate, it may deny the application.
It’s also important to submit medical documentation with the application. This may include information about the claimant’s diagnosis, doctor visits, emergency visits, treatment plans and lab results. If Social Security does not receive supporting evidence of the medical condition, it may deny the claim for that reason.
In addition to providing evidence about the condition itself the claimant must also demonstrate that he or she is complying with his or her physician’s treatment plan. This helps Social Security understand when and if the claimant can return to work.
If the claimant is uncooperative with Social Security that may also be a reason the claim is denied. This includes failing to provide requested information, not attending required medical visits or failing to respond to Social Security’s questions.
If the claim is denied, the claimant can appeal. There are four steps in the appeal process. The first step is a reconsideration where someone at Social Security who was not involved in the original determination will review the claim. The second step is to have the claim reviewed by an administrative law judge.
If it is denied by the administrative law judge the claimant has the right to be heard at the appeals council and then by a federal court. If a claimant needs assistance, an experienced attorney can provide guidance and advice.