What do I do if my claim for disability was denied?

Appeal, appeal, appeal.

The number-one mistake claimants make is failing to appeal in a timely manner. A couple key things to keep in mind.

First, there is a time limit to appeal. You only have sixty (60) days from the date on the denial to appeal. Second, the actual filing of an appeal is not as complicated or time-consuming as you may be dreading. Gathering and submitting the evidence to support the claim is more time consuming than filing the actual appeal paperwork with Social Security.

Second, it is better to appeal a denial than to start a new claim. Statistically, most disability claims that are denied are not appealed. Most claimants either (1) give up on the process, or (2) file an appeal too late (more than 60 days after the denial), or (3) file a new claim or application from the beginning. Each case is unique; however, filing a brand new claim is usually a mistake.

A failure to file a timely appeal or filing a brand new claim have the same end result: a loss of appeal rights and the need to start over at the very beginning with a new Social Security Disability or SSI application.

Appealing Has the Best Chance at Winning

Generally speaking, a claimant is better off filing an appeal of a denial than starting over and filing a new application.

Filing a new application tends to be a waste of valuable time.

New applications for disability will likely be denied for the same reasons as the initial application. In any event, missing an appeal deadline or starting a new application instead of appealing are situations that should be avoided because they waste a significant amount of time.

[Note: If you missed your appeal deadline and you do not have a good reason for missing the deadline, then you may have to start over with a new application for disability.]

Summary of What to Do After a Denial

  • Determine the root cause of why your case was denied.
  • Educate yourself about what a denial means.
  • Consider hiring an experienced disability lawyer to assist you in appealing the denial. Learn the “pros and cons” of hiring a disability lawyer.
  • Contact your local Social Security district office (or your attorney) and request an appeal.
  • Learn more about denials and appeals.