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Portnoy Disability Practice

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My Application For Social Security Benefits Has Been Denied. Now What?

Unless you are terminally ill or have a condition that meets very strict requirements, chances are that your application for Social Security disability benefits will be denied. What do you do when you receive the denial?

1. Do not be discouraged. Most people who file for disability benefits are denied initially. This does not mean that you will not be successful in your case. In fact, most cases are won after a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. Often, persistence is the key to obtaining the benefits you need and deserve.

2. Note the time frame for filing an appeal and make sure you appeal promptly. There is a date on the top right side of the denial letter. This date is very important. You have only 60 days plus 5 for mailing from that date to file your appeal. Missing 60 day deadline could cause you to lose out on benefits. Act now! You can file your appeal online at or by contacting your local Social Security office.

3. Read the denial. The denial letter will state what medical records were considered when Social Security made its decision. Often, important records were not received or considered. Make a note of what doctor records were missing and be sure to inform Social Security about these when you appeal. If records were missing, mention to your doctor that you would appreciate their responding to Social Security’s requests for records.

4. Talk to your doctors. The most important factor in winning a Social Security case is having medical support for you condition and limitations. Tell your doctors that you are applying for disability benefits. Would they be willing to send a letter in support of your claim?

5. Find an experienced attorney who will assist you. If your initial application for benefits has been denied, changes are that you will have to attend a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. Do not go it alone! Find an experienced Social Security attorney to assist you with the appeal the remainder of the Social Security process.

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