So you've requested Social Security Disability payments and your application has been denied. This happens to people all across Minnesota every year, and it's important to note that this is not the end of the road. You can still appeal that decision. In fact, many applications are denied for simple reasons -- such as forgetting to fill out a certain box -- and this can be rectified quickly.
Due to the lengthy process involved in seeking Social Security benefits, many claimants will at some point attempt to return to work in either a full time or part time capacity. Social Security, in order to encourage claimants in job seeking has built in a number of rules to deal with different levels of work activity.
A prior posting on this blog explained the impact of earnings on your eligibility for Social Security benefits. To recap, a person who earns more than the SGA limit will likely be found ineligible for benefits under Social Security rules. However, impairment related work expenses (IRWE) allow a recipient or claimant for benefits to reduce their countable income.
If a claimant has a request for a hearing pending, it is important to keep the Social Security Administration updated with your current address. Under Hallex I-2-3-15, the administrative law judge (ALJ) or hearing office staff should mail a written notice of hearing at least 20 days before the hearing (unless the claimant has waived the right to advance notice under Hallex I-2-3-25). As my colleague indicated yesterday, the ALJ could dismiss your case if you fail to appear without good cause. Lack of notice typically will not qualify if your hearing notice was mailed to your last known address. Claimants can change their address with Social Security Administration online, in person at a local office, or through their appointed representative.
When you file for disability, the claimant bears the burden to prove the allegation that he or she is not able to work due a physical and/or mental impairment. Therefore, it is important to be in regular treatment to have proof that you are disabled. However, many people may not be able to afford regular medical treatment for lack of personal finances and insurance.
Many people wait months and even years for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to determine whether they meet the Social Security definition of disability. At least 20 days prior to your scheduled hearing, you will receive a Notice of Hearing that will indicate the date, time, and location of your hearing. If you have representation, then your attorney will also receive a copy of the notice of hearing. The notice also includes an acknowledgment of hearing form in which you indicate whether or not you will be present at your hearing. You should follows the instructions to complete the form and mail it back to the hearing office, also known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), using the envelope provided.