Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an important federal safety net. All workers, even people who are self-employed, pay into Social Security via taxes. Later, they may be able to make a claim against the credits they’ve accrued if they get hurt on the job and need disability benefits.
Unfortunately, even if you have accrued enough credits by working consistently for years, you might not get SSDI benefits right away when you apply. Some qualified applicants receive a rejection notice instead of an approval. In fact, more than half of all applicants don’t get benefits when they apply.
What should you do if you are one of those rejected SSDI applicants?
Determine the reason for your rejection
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does its best to handle applications accurately and in a timely matter. However, sometimes in the effort to prevent unqualified people from receiving SSDI, the SSA unfairly denies someone who needs benefits.
The notice of your benefits denial will typically include information about why the SSA rejected your application. Perhaps your application did not make it clear that your condition was severe enough to qualify or that it would last long enough for you to receive benefits. Maybe you filled out the paperwork improperly or didn’t include medical documentation.
Reviewing the issues with your initial application and possibly getting professional help will make the next steps easier. When you understand what led to the rejection, then you can begin the appeal process.
Pursue an appeal, even if it takes multiple tries
There are four different levels of appeals available to rejected SSDI applicants. The first is reconsideration. In a reconsideration, another SSA worker reviews your application. If that worker approves your application, then you receive benefits.
If not, then you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. A hearing for benefits gives you the opportunity to gather and present more evidence if inadequate medical documentation played a role in your rejection. Even after a hearing, you may be able to file a request to the Appeals Council or appeal in federal court.
Learning more about SSDI benefits can help you submit a successful application or properly respond to a rejected one.