Friday, February 01, 2008

I was denied the second time for Social Security Disability

It's fairly typical for disability lawyers and non-attorney representatives to pick up the phone and hear something akin to the following: "I was denied the second time for social security disability (or SSI disability) and I need to get a lawyer".

The only thing is, when a disability representative (or, often, their paralegal) hears this, the question becomes:

Is this individual stating that they have been denied on their second disability application?


Is this individual stating that they have been denied for disability on a reconsideration? (which is not the same as a disability application but which is the first appeal and the second step in the evaluation process).

The distinction is important. In the first case, the claimant will have simply filed a brand new disability application (after being denied previously on a disability application) and will need to file an appeal, something known as a request for reconsideration. In the second case, the claimant will actually have been denied on a request for reconsideration. They will still need to have an appeal filed. But in this case, the appeal will be something known as a request for hearing (a disability hearing before a judge).

From a claimant's perspective, however, only one thing matters. If you get denied for disability, file an appeal. And if you have to file an appeal, you may as well consider representation.

Why should you consider representation at this point? Because, regarding the first level of appeal (the reconsideration), more than eighty percent of all cases are again denied. This makes it necessary to file the second disability appeal. That appeal is a request for a hearing in front of a disability judge. And, at that level, having a lawyer who handles social security disability and SSI cases is an important asset to winning a claim. Hearings often take two years to get after they have been requested, and for this reason a claimant should maximize their chances of winning. This includes having able representation.

Special note (and I realize I am being redundant here): if you get denied for disability at the initial claim or application level, don't start over with a new application. That is not the same thing as appealing. Unfortunately, a number of applicants seem to confuse a second application with an appeal. Here's what you do after you get a notice of denial. Call the social security administration and request an appeal. If you have representation, call the rep's office and inform them that you received a denial notice (they should have received their copy, but sometimes they don't). At that point, they should start on your appeal request.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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