It can be disheartening having the Social Security Administration (SSA) deny your application for benefits, and it may not always be clear what your next step should be. Should you appeal the denial or start all over with a new claim? Here are a couple of questions to ask to help you determine which option gives you the best chances of getting approved for disability benefits.
Can You Refute the Denial Reason Right Away?
When the SSA denies claims, the first thing the agency does is tell applicants why. The reason for the denial can be anything from insufficient proof of disability to the income the person receives exceeds the maximum threshold. It's important to pay close attention to the agency's rationale, because if you can refute the reason for the denial within a short period of time, then you should appeal the decision.
For example, the SSA denies your application because it says you won't be disabled for the minimum 12 months required to qualify for benefits. However, you have a doctor's report stating your disability is expected to last two years or longer. Obviously, there was a misunderstanding somewhere in the process, so it's best to appeal the decision and submit the supporting evidence to the court to ensure you win your case.
On the other hand, if you're not able to refute the denial reason or fix the problem right away, it may be better to wait and resubmit your application when your circumstances change. For instance, the SSA denies your application because it claims you make too much money. If you expect your income to fall under the threshold after a certain date, then it's probably best to wait until that time passes and then reapply for benefits.
Can You Invest the Time and Effort in Appealing?
Another thing to consider is whether you can invest the time and effort required to get through the appeals process. When you appeal an SSA denial, you will be required to attend a series of hearings where the judge will evaluate your case. In addition to ensuring the right forms are filed with the court and gathering the necessary evidence, you'll need to make arrangements to actually be in the courtroom (or meeting place).
This can be difficult to manage with a disability, particularly if you're currently undergoing treatment for your condition. Of course, things will be easier if you have help from an attorney or even a family member, but if you're trying to manage by yourself, it may be better to save your energy and resubmit your application when you're feeling stronger.
For help with your disability claim, contact your local disability attorney services.