Are you considering applying for the Social Security Disability benefits program?
If you are trying to decide whether or not you may apply, here is some information that can help you decide what your next steps may be.
Qualifying for SSD benefits
There are qualifying conditions that you must meet in order to receive an approval for SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration has a five-question process to help you determine whether you may qualify for benefits. If your ability to do any kind of work is severely limited by a serious condition which the SSA includes in its list, your application may be approved.
However, meeting the criteria and filing an application does not necessarily mean you will receive an approval.
Dealing with a denial
The SSA denies a large number of initial SSD applications, and if this includes yours, it is not the end of the road. The system comes with a complex, but effective, appeals process which has four levels: reconsideration, hearing, Appeals Council and federal court.
Perhaps the first person to look at your application did not examine it thoroughly, or maybe you forgot to include some important information. If you submit your claim for reconsideration, a different SSA representative will review it. If you receive a second denial, you may request a hearing.
The SSA may ask for clarifying information and evidence, which you can provide before your case goes before an administrative law judge for an opinion. You may challenge a negative ruling by taking your case before the SSA Appeals Council. Your last opportunity to receive approval for SSD benefits is to take your case to court. A federal judge will hear the case and issue a formal ruling about whether or not you qualify.