Why Do Some Arizonans Get Denied Social Security Disability and How Can They Appeal

Why Might My Social Security Disability Claim Be Denied?

One of the most common reasons for denial of Social Security Disability (SSD) claims in Arizona is the lack of sufficient medical evidence. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires comprehensive medical documentation to substantiate your disability claim. If your medical records do not thoroughly document your disability, the SSA may deny your claim.

Another common reason for denial is the SSA’s determination that your disability isn’t severe enough or won’t last long enough. The SSA generally only approves claims for conditions expected to last at least a year or result in death. If your condition is expected to improve within a year, or if it doesn’t significantly limit your ability to work, your claim may be denied.

What Can I Do If My SSD Claim Is Denied?

If your SSD claim is denied, don’t despair. You have the right to appeal the decision, and many people who are initially denied eventually receive benefits after appealing. In Arizona, there are four levels of appeal: reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council, and federal court review.

Reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who didn’t take part in the first decision. They’ll look at all the evidence submitted in the original decision, plus any new evidence.

If your claim is denied again, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. This is your chance to present your case in person. You can bring witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts, to testify on your behalf.

What If My SSD Appeal Is Also Denied?

If your appeal is denied at the hearing level, you can request a review by the SSA’s Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council doesn’t review all cases. They may deny your request if they believe the hearing decision was correct.

If the Appeals Council denies your claim or decides not to review your case, you could then file a lawsuit in a federal district court, the last level of the appeals process.

How Can I Improve My Chances of Winning My SSD Appeal?

One of the most effective ways to improve your chances of winning your SSD appeal is to hire an experienced disability attorney. They can guide you through the complex appeals process, help gather necessary medical evidence, and represent you at your hearing.

What Kind of Evidence Can Help My SSD Appeal?

The type of evidence that can help your SSD appeal largely depends on the nature of your disability. However, in general, comprehensive medical records are crucial. These should include detailed reports from your doctors about your condition, the treatments you’ve tried, and how your disability affects your ability to work.

In addition to medical records, statements from friends, family, or coworkers about how your disability affects your daily life can also be helpful. These statements can provide a more complete picture of your disability and its impact on your ability to work.

How Long Does the SSD Appeal Process Take?

The length of the SSD appeal process can vary greatly depending on the level of appeal and the specifics of your case. In general, the process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year.

The reconsideration stage typically takes a few months. If your claim is denied again and you request a hearing, it can take several months to over a year to get a hearing date due to the backlog of cases. The decision after the hearing can take a few weeks to a few months.

If you request a review by the Appeals Council, the process can take an additional year or more. If you decide to file a lawsuit in federal court, the process can take even longer.

Can I Work While My SSD Appeal Is Pending?

While your SSD appeal is pending, you are technically allowed to work. However, there are strict limits on how much you can earn, and working while your appeal is pending can complicate your case. The SSA might argue that your ability to work, even part-time, shows that you’re not disabled. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced disability attorney before making the decision to work while your appeal is pending.

What Happens If I Can’t Afford Medical Treatment for My Disability?

The SSA relies heavily on medical evidence to determine if you’re disabled. Without this evidence, your claim may be denied. However, there are resources available to help you.

In Arizona, you may qualify for programs like the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which is Arizona’s Medicaid agency that offers health care programs to serve Arizona residents. Community health clinics also offer services on a sliding fee scale.

What If I Don’t Have Enough Work Credits for SSD?

The SSA requires you to have a certain number of work credits to qualify for SSD. These credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits per year. However, if you don’t have enough work credits, you might still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI is a program that provides benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. It’s also available to people aged 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. For example, if you’re a freelance writer who hasn’t been able to work consistently due to a debilitating neurological condition, you might not have enough work credits for SSD. However, you could still qualify for SSI based on your limited income and resources.

If you’ve been denied SSD benefits, call Roeschke Law today at 800-975-1866 for a free consultation!