Those who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) insurance benefits typically don’t have many other options for supporting themselves. They have a health issue that has kept them from gainful employment, and they have reason to expect that it will persist for a year, or possibly much longer.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) frequently rejects far more applications than it approves. As a result, people who cannot work may also find themselves denied SSD benefits despite a total lack of income. An appeal may be necessary for some people to get benefits, a process which may involve appearing in front of an administrative law judge.
How can applicants who are appealing an unfavorable decision prepare for their SSD hearing?
1. Gathering more medical evidence
Insufficient medical documentation is frequently one of the top issues with an SSD benefits application. Even conditions that can prove fatal can present differently in each patient, making it hard for SSA employees to evaluate claims based on diagnosis alone. Each applicant needs evidence showing how the condition presents in their case and how it impacts their daily life.
Seeing a doctor for an in-depth functional evaluation could help, as could obtaining copies of other medical records so that someone can show how serious their diagnosis is and how it limits their ability to engage in meaningful employment.
2. Bringing in professional help
Although there are additional, more complex levels of appeals available after a failed hearing, someone’s best chance of success during an SSD appeal is usually when presenting a case in front of a judge.
Individuals who know that their future financial stability hinges on their ability to make a compelling case may struggle to advocate for themselves in court. Additionally, the stress of trying to prepare for the hearing could undermine their health. A lawyer will understand the process and will have the skill necessary to make a compelling case and convince a judge that benefits are truly necessary.
Although applicants often benefit from having help when they first apply, those who are going through an appeal often require assistance even more than those who are submitting their initial paperwork. Properly preparing for the SSD benefits appeals process can help those who are worried about securing rightful benefits as efficiently and effectively as possible.