SSDI- How do I know if I should appeal my denial decision?
Common SSDI facts
Many SSDI applicants are surprised to find they are not immediately approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). They have paid into the system all of their working lives and feel entitled to receive some of that money back, especially at the moment when they need it most but did you know:
- Up to 75% of disability applicants are denied the first time they apply for disability benefits.
- Up to 3 million workers apply for SSDI and SSI benefits each year.
- SSDI is not an entitlement program it is an insurance program and you are not guaranteed benefits.
- You can lose your opportunity for benefits if you wait too long to apply after you quit working (the last date you are entitled to SSDI is called your Date Last Insured or DLI date).
- SSDI is only offered to applicants who are 100% disabled. The SSA does not offer any type of partial benefits.
- SSDI is only offered to claimants who have a severe condition which will last 12 continuous months. The SSA does not offer any type of short-term or temporary disability benefits.
- You may not be approved the first time you apply; in fact, you may never be approved.
- Some applicants must wait over 12 months to receive benefits and fight through multiple appeal proceedings.
When do I appeal my SSDI denial?
Given the SSDI facts above, many SSDI applications are denied. So how do you know if you should appeal your decision? First, determine if you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI: your condition will last 12 months, you are 100% disabled, your condition is severe, and you have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If you do not meet the basic nonmedical requirements than it will not matter if you file an appeal; it is likely you will automatically be denied a second time.
If you do meet the nonmedical requirements it is time to file a Reconsideration, which is the first step in the appeals process. The Reconsideration must be submitted within 60 days from the date of the denial letter. If you miss the submission date you will have to file a new application (some exceptions exist if you can prove you missed the date for a very good reason).
Should I hire a disability lawyer?
Although some SSDI claimants have the fortitude to face the challenges of the SSDI appeal without legal help, many do not. If you are very sick, you have no one else to help you or you do not understand what you need to prove to win SSDI benefits it may be time to talk to a disability lawyer.
The good news is they are only paid if you win your case. If you win they are paid 25% of your back pay up to a maximum of $6,000. If you lose your case they are not paid.