How to File a Social Security Disability Appeal Online
Filing a disability appeal online is something that SSA is strongly encouraging these days. This post is mainly a reprint of the pitch that the social security administration is putting out for filing online. As the social security administration site states, when you use the internet appeal process you should:
A) complete the actual appeal request which will prompt you for information about your jobs, where you live, and the condition or conditions that cause you to be disabled and unable to work.
B) complete the appeal disability report, in which you will be requested to provide detailed information about your condition and history of treatment with your various medical providers
What are the possible advantages to filing online? The most obvious would be that, if you are in danger of missing the disability appeal deadline, the option to file online can help you avoid a scenario in which you might be forced to start over with a new disability application, effectively losing months of time that has already been invested in the process.
Personally, I am not a fan of filing online, with an application for disability or a disability appeal. Why? Because performing one of these actions online removes the ability of a claimant to speak directly with a social security field office worker and ask questions. One thing I've learned over the last few years as a a caseworker, as a disability examiner, and as someone involved in disability representation is that 1) claimants should ask more questions to avoid confusion, 2) the social security administration does a very poor job of educating claimants about the disability process, and 3) too many bad situations result because claimants were not properly informed.
Why does the social security administration so strongly encourage that a person file online? Simple. SSA is facing a severe manpower shortage due to the failure of Congress to provide the agency with a large enough budget to replace workers who quit or retire. Allowing claimants to file online minimizes the need for face-to-face contact with a social security employee and, arguably, is in the best interests of the social security administration. However, in my opinion, the online option is not in the best interests of claimants.
If you get denied for disability, you should immediately request an appeal by contacting your local social security office and you should complete the appeal yourself (online if you choose) or have your representative (a disability attorney or non-attorney representative) do this for you. However, always leave open for yourself the option of asking questions and getting answers.
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