Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can you Avoid Being Denied on a Social Security Disability Claim?

This is debatable, because at the first two levels of the social security disability and SSI disability system, things are stacked against claimants. This is clearly evident when you consider the fact that roughly seven out of ten initial disability claims are denied, yet for those individuals who decide to file appeals and eventually get in front of an administrative law judge at a disability hearing, the chance of being approved can be greater than sixty percent for someone with able representation.

Can you avoid being denied on a social security disability claim? In some instances, this may be true. For example, claimants who omit significant details regarding their history of medical treatment can potentially make it harder for a disability claim adjudicator (decision-maker) to obtain evidence that may point toward an approval.

Additionally, claimants who omit significant details regarding their occupational history may have their past relevant work improperly classified (since denials on claims are connected to the demands of their past work and the skills they may potentially carry to other forms of work, proper classification of a claimant's past jobs is an issue to be concerned with).

And, of course, one way to avoid receiving near-continuous denials is simply to do this one thing: after being denied on a disability application, make sure that the next step that is taken is the filing of an appeal versus the filing of a new application...that will simply be denied again.

Following the appeals process will eventually get a claimant's case in front of a judge at a hearing; whereas filing new claims will typically only result in more denials (as a disability examiner, I frequently saw individuals who had filed more than ten times and, each time, I had to wonder why they had never appealed instead of starting over with a new claim).

At the disability hearing level, I should say, however, that a claimant can absolutely avoid being denied, simply by ensuring that their case is prepared. Careful preparation prior to a hearing can, and usually does, include the following:

1. Obtaining medical record updates, submitting such updates to the ALJ (administrative law judge), and evaluating the information contained in such updates.

2. Attempting to obtain a medical source statement or completed residual functional capacity form from a treating physician.

3. Evaluating the case file to review how the prior denials were made, review the medical evidence that was previously gathered by the disability examiner(s) who worked on the case, review how the claimant's past work was classified, etc.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Will you get Approved for Disability if you have an Open and Shut Case?
Doctors at DDS - The Social Security Disability SSI System
Choosing a Social Security Disability Attorney
Social Security Disability and Part Time Work
How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing? Is it Easier than the first steps?
What Do They Do at a Disability Hearing?
You Must be Disabled for a Year for Social Security Disability or SSI
Getting a Social Security Disability Approval in under 3 months
Opinions on Appealing a Disability Denial of Social Security Benefits