Why A Social Security Disability Rejection Doesn't Mean You Don't Deserve Disability

Social security disability is in the news a lot; sometimes it seems like everyone has an opinion about it. But while journalists and politicians argue about the merits of the disability program or its potential for fraud, there's another group of people being impacted by these debates: those who believe, after being turned down for disability, that they must not deserve it.

But in fact, a large number of disability claims are turned down initially. According to an article published by The Motley Fool, the number of rejections has risen from around half in 1999 to close to two-thirds in 2013. Yet many rejected claims are later accepted through the appeals process.

Should You File A Claim?

One of the reasons why people who are eligible sometimes don't file for disability is that they feel embarrassed to ask for a handout. So the first thing you should know is that disability payments come from a social security fund that you have been paying money into through your job. It is, in a sense, getting your own money back from a system you have paid to support.

When it comes to the definition of disability, it's best to discuss this with a doctor. The Social Security Administration also keeps a list of conditions that automatically qualify you for disability; if you don't have one of these conditions, however, you may still be eligible if you have a medical condition that prevents you from working and is expected to last a year or more or end in death.

If you believe you may be eligible for disability, call or visit a social security office to begin the paperwork, or begin the process online at the official Social Security Administration website.

Should You File An Appeal After Rejection?

If you meet the requirements for social security disability but are rejected, you should absolutely file an appeal. The process of getting disability is inherently subjective – your file is reviewed by a human being. This is one reason why, despite the fact that disability is a federal program and thus identical from state to state, the actual rates of acceptance vary a great deal between states.

The first level of appeal is called reconsideration, which is a basic review of your claim; generally, you won't even be present for it. Most successful appeals, however, happen at the next step – after an unsuccessful reconsideration, you can appeal for a hearing by a judge. This allows you to explain your position as well as provide witnesses – such as medical professionals – to ensure the judge fully understands your claim.

When Do You Need A Lawyer?

Applying for disability doesn't require legal representation; if you need assistance, you should talk to your local social security office. However, once you have been rejected, you enter the legal process of appeals, and a lawyer is very helpful.

If you are going to be part of a hearing in front of a judge, you are basically putting together a persuasive argument that you meet the requirements for disability. This can involve the testimony of experts as well as questioning by a judge, and the help of a lawyer who has expertise in social security disability may mean the difference between a successful hearing and a rejection.

For more information, contact Iler and Iler or a similar firm.