3 Things You Need to Keep in Mind If You’re Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

Having a condition that leaves you unable to work can be devastating, emotionally and financially. Filing for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a complex process. Unfortunately, many disability applicants are denied benefits when they first apply. The denial rate for when applicants first apply is around 65%. The good news is you have the ability to appeal your disability denial. Here are three things you need to keep in mind if you're denied social security disability benefits.

1. You only have a certain amount of time to appeal.

For most social security disability denials, you only have 60 days to appeal the decision. The good news is that the SSA gives you a grace period of five days from the date of the decision, so you will usually have the denial letter before the 60-day countdown begins.

If you fail to file an appeal within the time-frame allotted in your disability denial letter, that doesn't mean you have no chance of getting benefits. It simply means you will have to begin the application process all over again.

2. You must provide proper documentation for your reasons for treatment non-compliance.

If you were denied disability benefits because you didn't follow your doctor's treatment plan, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't get benefits when you appeal. There are various reasons that the SSA will accept treatment non-compliance. However, you will likely need to provide significant and proper documentation to back up your reasoning.

For instance, the SSA will accept religious reasons for treatment non-compliance, but they won't just take your word for it. You will need to submit a formal statement of your religious beliefs, documented proof that you are a member of said church denomination, and proof that the treatment in question goes against the religious beliefs of the church.

It could also be a good idea to have a religious authority from your church attend your appeals hearing with you. That way, if there are any additional questions about how the treatment violates your religious beliefs, there is a religious authority figure there to expound upon the issue.

3. You don't have to hire an attorney to appeal your denial, but it helps.

A common misconception that a lot of people have is they have to hire an attorney before they can appeal their disability denial. You don't have to have an attorney representing you at your appeals hearing, but it can definitely help your case. A lawyer with experience in social security disability law knows the questions that need to be asked and can make better arguments for your case. Your chances of winning your disability appeal is roughly doubled if you have an attorney like Allison Tyler Attorney representing you.