Filing Social Security Benefits in West Virginia
And What You Need to Know If You Have Been Denied
Filing for social security benefits can be a tedious act to go through, especially if you do not know how to correctly apply for such benefits. At Jacobs Law Office, we encourage our clients to come in for the initial act of filing the application in order to get social security disability questions answered. Though the initial application is done online, Pat and the team at JLO want to help you every step of the way.
For those that receive a denial letter, it is important to remember that though it can be disheartening, it’s not the end and there are steps that can be taken to appeal the decision. With the help of a lawyer, the applicant has a much better chance of being approved once they appeal the prior denial of benefits.
Who Might be Denied Social Security Benefits?
The application process for social security benefits ends in a denial of benefits for most applicants. Only around 30% of applicants are approved with their initial application, which means it’s likely you will be denied even if you are disabled and do have documentation of the denial. There are many reasons why you may be denied social security benefits, but you do have the chance to learn more about your denial reason and appeal the decision, adding new information if needed to boost your chance of approval.
What are Common Reasons for a Denial?
Benefits can be denied for just about any reason. The most common ones include the following:
Insufficient Medical Evidence – There needs to be evidence that your disability prevents you from working. If you do not have sufficient medical evidence, your claim could be denied because they can’t see what your disability is or how it impacts your life.
Not Following Treatment – If you are not following the treatment plan created by your doctor, it could be seen as you are not actively seeking recovery.
Contact Information is Outdated – If the Social Security Administration cannot get in contact with you, they will deny your application. Always make sure your contact information is updated with them if anything changes.
Missing Appointments – You may be required to attend a hearing or meet with someone from the Social Security Administration. Failing to make these appointments can lead to denial.
How Does Someone Know Why They Were Denied?
After the application is considered, the Social Security Administration sends a letter of approval or denial to the applicant. You should receive this letter if you are denied benefits. This will contain information about your case, such as the impairments considered for your application, and will include a reason why you were denied benefits. This should let you know exactly what issue was found with the application that led to a denial of services and gives you a starting point for your next steps.
Is a Denial the End of the Process?
The answer is no; Denial is not the end of the process. If you have applied for social security benefits and you are denied, do not simply give up. Around half of those who go through the appeals process are able to get social security benefits, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to give this a try. Re-applying might seem like a faster option, but since you have already applied, you will be denied again because you have a prior denial. Instead, start looking into the reason for your denial so you can appeal the decision and have a better chance of your appeal leading to being approved for benefits.
What Should Happen After a Denial?
The appeals process usually takes a few different steps and can take a while to complete. You must get started quickly, as you only have around 60 days to start the appeals process. First, you’ll request reconsideration. This means you’re turning in the same paperwork and having another representative take a look at it for you. It’s possible to add in new or different information at this point, which can help if you were denied because of incomplete medical paperwork or similar reasons. If you are still denied benefits, you’ll need to move onto the next step.
If the reconsideration doesn’t lead to an award of benefits, you’ll need to set up a disability hearing. You’ll need to explain to the judge why you need benefits. There may be a medical expert who will ask questions to clarify your disabilities and why you need social security benefits. It may be possible for you to present new evidence or changes in your condition as well as to have witnesses who can speak on your behalf. Most of the time, if a claim is going to be approved, it will be approved during this step.
If you are still denied at this point, there is one more part to the appeals process. The decision can be sent to an Appeals Council where they will review the decision made in the previous hearing to make sure there were no issues. They can agree with the decision or overturn the decision and have it sent back to the original appeals hearing where it will be reconsidered.
Can an Attorney Help with an Appeal?
An attorney cannot help with the initial application for social security benefits, but they can help if you’ve been denied. It’s a good idea to go ahead and speak with an attorney as soon as you receive the decision letter. They understand the entire process and how to build your case to make it more likely you’ll be approved. They are not paid unless they do help you obtain social security benefits, so they will work hard to give you the biggest chance of approval. They can help with every step of the appeals process, ensuring you have everything you need to be more likely to be awarded benefits.
If you’ve applied for social security benefits, it’s highly likely you’ll be denied initially. While the reason for this can vary, the next step is always to appeal the decision. Speak with an attorney today at Jacobs Law Office to learn more about why you were denied, how the appeals process works, and how you can get help to ensure you are approved for the benefits. We’ll work hard to help you get the social security benefits you need, even though you may have been initially denied. Remember, don’t delay to come in and fill out your initial application with Pat and the team. Call today so JLO can help you every step of the way!