A Law Career

Social Security Appeals: 3 Tips

by Ruby Mckinney

After completing your social security disability (SSI/SSDI) application on your own, you might be surprised to receive a denial. You may panic, not knowing what your next course of action should be. Luckly, there is an appeal process available for those denied for SSDI/SSI benefits. However, you shouldn't go into it without making these choices.

Starting Immediately

You might be so stunned that you received a denial that you can't think straight. You might want to forget about the whole thing for a while, especially if you're in acute pain from your disabilities. However, it's imperative that you look at your denial letter and discover the time limit for an appeal. Missing that date could mean you have to start over with an entirely new claim.

Getting a Lawyer

You're likely to have options with your appeal. Some states ask that you submit a "request for reconsideration" before you're eligible to to seek an in-person hearing in front of a judge. All methods of appeal will require more paperwork. A social security attorney can help you figure out how to complete appeal paperwork. What's more, they will suggest a path forward that has the best chance of succeeding. Their years in the SSI/SSDI field will not only make the process more understandable, but their presence could make the difference for your appeal. If you choose a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, an attorney could be even more valuable.

Being Honest

Your anxiety over the hearing could make you nervous about what you'll say. Because you're living with your continued disabilities, you may want to slightly exaggerate what's happening so that the judge understands the severity of your life conditions. You might go the other way and become too prideful to freely explain how difficult life has become. However, being too dramatic or too reticent can both have terrible effects on the outcome of your appeal.

Instead, be honest. If you can still complete some of your daily tasks, explain how. If your mental state is so overwhelming that you cannot get through the day, talk about it. The more sincerity you can bring to your hearing, the better your hearing judge will accept what they're learning about your condition. Your lawyer will likely prep you for any questions the judge may ask; listen to their feedback and advice.

Stay focused on your appeal and the actions which can heighten your chances of being granted benefits. Keep communicating with your SSI/SSDI lawyer and the steps should be clear.