How to Win Your Appeal With the SSA

When filing a claim with the Social Security Administration, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken. Most of these steps are completing and filing paperwork, as well as consolidating your medical history (if filing for SSDI) and work history into a clean, concise packet. However, even if you take the proper amount of time and effort compiling all of this information together, your case can still be dismissed by the Administration. The reason for this is the fact that there are only so many Claims Representatives handling an ever-increasing number of cases, depending on your state. As a result, anywhere from forty to sixty percent of applications are rejected at the initial stage. This can be devastating to someone suffering from a disability who needs financial assistance sooner rather than later. However, all hope is not lost. What do you do if your case is dismissed? Fortunately, the SSA has an appeals process, so you can re-submit your claim and get your benefits. How can you ensure that your case will be awarded the second time around? If it was rejected before, wouldn’t it get rejected again? Below we’ll outline the best ways to maximize your potential when filing an appeal.
When it comes to looking over your case files, the first person to do this will be a Claims Representative (CR). While a CR is certainly more than capable of determining the validity of your case, the fact is that most of these representatives have too many case files to go over and not enough time to do so. As such, many CRs will skim over the information and look for errors, rather than qualifications. It is far easier to deny a case because of a technicality, rather than actual case evidence. For this reason, many claims are denied simply because the paperwork wasn’t filled out correctly, or insufficient evidence was presented. During an appeal, however, your case will be given to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for review. These judges take more time in looking at the particulars of your case, and determine its validity based on the evidence, not necessarily by the number of errors. Typically, about half of the cases that are appealed before an ALJ are approved. However, there are some finer points that you need to consider which will help ensure approval.
Have your Primary Physician fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form. This form will determine how capable you are of working, and will be the best asset you have when submitting your case. Many times, it will be a CR filling out this form after meeting you, but they don’t necessarily have the expertise to make the best decision on your behalf. Having your physician fill this out will better your chances.
Hire legal counsel to prepare and submit your case. A social security lawyer will know better about how to present your claim, and what information a CR or ALJ will be seeking. A lawyer will also have access to writing services that can create a comprehensive medical chronology, as well as a clear case overview. This will expedite your claim getting approved.
Finally, be polite and courteous to everyone you talk to at the SSA. Due to the high number of cases processed, many people working on them forget that these are people who are getting benefits. Interact with and maintain a good relationship with everyone you meet, even if it is stressful. This will help put a human face on your claim, which will help them to understand your needs.
If you have any questions about what to do when filing an appeal or filing an application at all, contact us today, and we can walk you through the steps necessary to getting approved. The sooner you can get your benefits, the better your quality of life will be.