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Disability claim denied! Now what?

After your accident or illness, the bills have begun to pile up. You would like to go back to work, but it's just not possible. When you realized this, you filed for Social Security Disability benefits. Perhaps the thought of having some dependable income was a relief, and you were shocked when you received a notice that the Social Security Administration had denied your claim.

You may be surprised to know that only about a third of all disability claims are accepted. Over the past 15 years or more, the number of disability claims has nearly doubled. Those who are responsible for evaluating applications say they feel pressure to approve more claims because the overwhelming accumulation of disputes has created a backlog in administrative courts.

What it means to be disabled

Nevertheless, the number of applications that the SSA accepts continues to drop. SSA workers say that many people who apply for benefits don't seem to understand the eligibility requirements for acceptance. While you may be suffering in certain ways, what concerns the SSA is your ability to earn money. Your chances of receiving benefits may improve if the following circumstances exist:

  • Your condition has lasted a year or more, or you expect that it will last at least that long.
  • Your condition prevents you from doing the job you did before your injury or illness.
  • Because of your condition, you are unable to adjust to other work for which you are qualified.

The SSA will evaluate your condition and decide if you are able to earn money despite your injury or illness. This doesn't mean they will find you a job or that they will take into consideration whether a job in your field is available. It simply means they will judge if your illness or injury prevents you from working.

Appealing your denial

If the above conditions are true in your case and the SSA has still denied your claim for disability benefits, you may have made a clerical error. Perhaps you left out some important information or provided insufficient documentation from medical professionals who support your claim. The more details you submit regarding health care and work experience, the easier you make it for SSA agents to evaluate your case.

If you have already received your letter of denial, the clock is ticking. In Michigan, your options for reconsideration are limited, and you have a small window of time to pursue them. Having the help of an experienced attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights may make all the difference.

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