Many SSI claims denied for not effectively proving disabilities

Minnesota residents who are disabled and have limited financial resources may be eligible to obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, just because an individual is eligible to obtain benefits does not mean that he or she will receive disability benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration requires folks to prove that they have a disability, and proving that one is indeed disabled can be a challenging task.

The SSA denies many SSI applications every year. Learning that one's claim has been denied can be devastating, especially since folks may need to rely on SSI benefits to help cover basic living expenses when they cannot work and so that they can also obtain medical benefits through Medicaid. When a claim is denied, though, folks may still try to obtain disability benefits by filing a Request for Reconsideration or even by requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge.

During the appeals process, disabled folks will need to provide sufficient evidence to prove that they are disabled in order to obtain SSI benefits. Since those who are appealing denied claims have already failed at least once to prove that they are disabled, disabled individuals may want to consider consulting an attorney if they have not done so already before proceeding with the appeals process. With the help of an attorney, disabled individuals may be able to build a stronger case to prove that they are eligible to obtain disability benefits.

The most important evidence to provide is medical evidence. This means individuals need to start documenting their medical issues as soon as they notice odd and concerning symptoms. When tasks become more difficult to perform, folks need to document the changes and they need to see their doctors so that doctors can properly evaluate and monitor their conditions. Any gaps in treatment could be detrimental to one's health, but gaps in treatment could also cause one's disability claim to be denied.

Sometimes individuals don't provide enough information about their medical conditions when they file their initial application for benefits. When a claim is denied, folks will have about 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration. Sixty days may not seem like enough time to gather any additional medical evidence folks might have forgotten to include on their initial claims, but with the help of an attorney, folks may be able to do so more quickly in order to avoid an even longer delay in having their benefits approved.

Source: The Grand Island Independent, "Proving disability no simple task, attorney says," Amy Schweitzer, Jan. 10, 2013

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