denied disability benefitsBeen Denied Social Security Disability Benefits? Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Most people who apply for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied. Unless you have a clear-cut physical impairment causing permanent disability you should probably expect to be denied. The reason for this is pretty simple. The Social Security Administration publishes a list of medical conditions that they provide to their examiners. If your disabling condition does not fit the requirement in this list then you will most likely receive a denial letter. The other common cause for denial for even those who should qualify for benefits is lack of medical proof. In this case your attending physicians may not have complied with requests by the SSA for your medical records or poorly documented your visits. No matter the reason your application is denied, the bottom line is that you should not consider the matter settled and make the following mistakes some other people have done.


Do Nothing

We’ve actually already mentioned the number one mistake people tend to make after a disability denial. The do nothing thinking that the decision is final. However, you are granted the right to appeal your case. You need to notify the SSA of the decision to appeal within sixty days of the denial notification. The SSA will then reconsider their decision, but in almost all cases this step is also followed by a denial. You should appeal again. The next appeal has a high rate of acceptance, so you do not want to miss it.


I had a Social Security examiner once tell me that my best bet was to file a new application for benefits if my first one was denied. Not only is this bad advice, it is completely wrong. Filing a new application only sends it back through the same process that denied it in the first place. Secondly, should you decide to appeal when the second application is denied, you have wasted three months or more and needlessly delayed getting your benefits. Re-filing applications only bogs the system down and delays everyone from receiving benefits sooner.

Go Alone

Planning to go through the appeal process without asking the advice of an attorney can hurt you. Experienced attorneys have guided numerous people through the process and know disability law. Thus they can foresee many of the pitfalls in your case and help you overcome them. Even seemingly “solid” cases can use the expertise of someone who has knowledge of the system. Statistically more people are awarded benefits who have hired representatives to assist them.

Go to Sleep

The appeal process takes time. From application to completion of the disability hearing can take as long as three years. This is not the time to go to sleep. You should continue building your case by keeping every doctor’s appointment that is scheduled. Try new solutions to solve your physical problems (each failure can help solidify your case). Obtain further testing that proves your disability. Many attorneys will recommend that you take a psychiatric exam which may diagnose depression. Additional diagnosis can bolster a case.


Due to the extended time it takes for the appeal process, many applicants face financial ruin. In order to pay bills or put food on the table they return to work, only to be denied benefits because they are working after stating on their application that they were unable to do so. The SSA does allow people with disabilities to perform some work, however there are income limits and you must still be able to show that you cannot work gainfully. You should consult your lawyer before returning to employment.


When you applied for your disability benefits you completed a form stating what you can or cannot physically do. It is obvious that people’s physical conditions change from time to time. You could improve, but you could also, just as easily, get worse. You should inform the SSA if your condition improves and you are able to do more activity if it affects the application. If you are able to return to work and choose not to work then you could be charged with a crime if you accept the benefits.

Keep on Moving!

Social Security disability benefits applications are routinely denied, but the denial letter should not be taken as the final word. If an applicant truly cannot work then they should be willing to appeal the decision. Being careful to not make the mistakes mentioned here may help an application to eventually get approved.




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About the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers
Recognized as one of the nation’s premier law firms, The Cochran Firm handles cases on behalf of clients seeking a Personal Injury Lawyer, Criminal Defense, Medical Malpractice, Bankruptcy Attorney in Atlanta or Social Security Disability Lawyer.The Firm can be reached at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476) or fill out the form on this page. “Working for You.” Article by Benjamin A. Irwin, Esq.

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