Social Security Disability can feel like a game. If you don't provide the right information, your application is denied. You try again with a different set of cards. You lose again. They tell you that you can play a few more rounds, and you wonder: Is it worth it? They make you wait months between each round. Meanwhile, your disability is not getting any better and you fear that you will lose your home, your car, your lifestyle.
Should you keep playing?
You may, in fact, have a better hand than you think.
First, the facts: Social Security denies a large majority of initial SSDI applications - approximately 66 percent. The reasons for denying applications include:
- The SSA believes the applicant's disability does not meet its definition of qualifying disabilities
- The SSA deems that the applicant's disability will not last 12 months or result in death
- The applicant has not followed the treatment plan prescribed by his or her doctor
- The applicant did not respond to the Disability Determination Service's request (or a request by the SSA) for further information
- The Administration was unable to locate the applicant
- The applicant is able to work a job that provides enough money
It should come as no surprise that most SSDI applications are denied because they do not provide enough information to prove that they meet the SSA's stringent disability criteria.
But there are ways to overcome this. For example, the chance of success at a hearing before an administrative law judge (the second level of appeals) is much higher - nearly 60 percent of applicants are approved for SSDI by an ALJ.
The SSDI process is slow, especially if you must go through multiple levels of appeal. Yet, if the SSA approves your application at any stage, you will receive compensation for the months during which your application was pending.
You may have some hurdles to jump, but it may very well be worth it in the long term.
Do not give up. Instead, contact an experienced SSDI lawyer who can help you gather evidence and present your case to the SSA, an administrative law judge, and/or a federal appeals court.
Learn more about SSDI by reading our web pages on social security disability benefits.