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How to Appeal My Denied Social Security Claim

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

If you have submitted an application to the Social Security Administration for a claim of disability, then expect it to be denied. In fact, most disability claims are denied the first time they are submitted, and that is why the appeals process is so important. More significantly, the best way to eventually get approval for your disability claim is to have the case presented to an Administrative Law Judge at a formal hearing. Employing the services of a competent and experienced Social Security Benefits lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will ensure the highest level of success.

There are specific steps that all appeals have to move through before they are ready to be reviewed by the judge, and it is essential to recognize these even though you may be working with an attorney. The better you understand the overall process, the better your chances of winning.

Review Your Preparation

When a claim is denied it is very often the case where the applicant did not provide the right amount of medical information supporting the disability. The application has to reveal compelling facts and records that point to the disability, and these have to be presented logically and accurately. These reports need to go back as far as when the disability began, and there should be a sufficient number of doctor’s notes and findings that have been documented and are part of your medical record. If this concise history of your disability is weakly organized and has gaps in descriptions of treatment and physician, follow through then this must be addressed.

Something the medical examiner will look for on an application is “bad facts” that make it difficult to grant approval for the application. For instance, if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or if you have worked putting in regular hours at a job, the examiner will probably see this as a negative when evaluating your information. If this is the case then consultation with a Social Security Benefits Lawyer at our law firm will assist you in reworking this history so that it is clearly explained and understood.

Appeal Immediately

If your application is denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal. Most experts encourage applicants to make an appeal sooner rather than later. It is crucial to have the “appeal request ” on file as soon as you can get it there even if you have to do it without legal representation. If you have already retained a lawyer to assist you in preparing the application, he will work with you. Many times cases that are denied are not appealed when they may have had a chance of winning. When in doubt, always appeal.

Review Your Disability File

The “Disability File” prepared by the Social Security Officials will be available electronically, and all you have to do is request it. This file will contain all the pertinent information regarding your care and will include the application, medical records, work related records, and other related information. This should be reviewed to identify gaps in the documentation or instances where the reports were not clearly narrated and therefore misleading. This exacting review in conjunction with the Social Security Disability Lawyer will tighten up the application as you prepare for the next step.

Reconsideration Phase

The Reconsideration step in the appeal process is actually the first step in getting a hearing before a judge. In this stage a different examiner will review your information and make a second determination. If you have done the work and are successful, the appeal will move forward.

Appeal Immediately

Final Thoughts

The appeal process for a Social Security disability claim that has been denied is complex and lengthy. An applicant who has received a denial must be diligent in providing accurate and compelling information to support their claim to be successful. At the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we understand the rigors of this appeal process, and we have the experience to get your case in front of an appeals court judge. Contact us at or call us for a free consultation at 866-MICH-LAW.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Tristan is a professional writer and had careers as a teacher of English, school administrator, and as a broker in real estate sales. He has gained a great deal of legal experience through his service as the president of a teacher's union, a member of the board for a real estate association, and as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the real estate board of directors. Before beginning a full-time job as a freelance writer, he was the Executive Director of the Global Business Alliance for a local Chamber of Commerce and sat on the Government Affairs Committee for the Chamber.



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