Claim DENIED? Now What?

Claim denied. What now?What should you do when your SSDI/SSI Disability claim has been denied?

You gathered records, filled out the application for Social Security Disability, and waited for an answer…

Then, you receive a letter from Social Security saying that you have been DENIED benefits because you are NOT too disabled to work?!

Claim denied.

You know that you can’t work on a regular basis, and so does everyone around you.

What now?

Here are your three options:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Reapply for benefits.
  3. Appeal the Decision.

Watch this video, then scroll down to learn about your options.

It is time to look closely at your options and determine your next course of action.

1. Do Nothing.

This is self-explanatory.  If you do nothing, you will not receive benefits. Period. In some cases, waiting too long will even prevent you from being able to attain benefits in the future, as well. “Do nothing” is never the best option when applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

2. Reapply for Benefits.

Many claimants choose to start over with a new application.  Maybe you have let the appeal deadline pass you by, or maybe you are just uncomfortable with the appeals process, so you decide to reapply instead. If you did not appeal in time, and you did not have a good reason for missing the appeal (ie: were in a coma), then go ahead and reapply.

Just as most initial applications are denied, there is a very good chance that your new application will also be denied.  In fact, you very likely WILL be denied, again.

So, why should you bother reapplying if you are just going to be denied? Because you will never qualify for benefits if you don’t first apply. Once you receive your new letter of denial, it is time to appeal the decision.

If you have received your denial letter and the deadline to appeal has NOT passed, it is almost always better to appeal than to reapply.

3. Appeal the Decision.

As mentioned previously, most applications are initially denied.  The next step is to start the appeals process.

You only have 60 days to appeal, from the date on your denial letter.  Be sure to CHECK THE DATE on your denial letter, and then mark the 60-day deadline on your calendar. Don’t waste any time.

If you win your appeal, you will receive backpay calculated upon your original application date. However, if you reapply and then win your appeal, your backpay will be calculated upon the date of your most recent application. It pays to appeal, rather than reapply.

Social Security Disability Maze. Claim Denied.The appeals process can be overwhelming and confusing for claimants. This is especially true for disability claimants who are already tired, frustrated, not feeling well, and struggling to get through each day.

It takes consistent determination and a knowledge of “the system” to obtain records and medical opinions, research and understand the requirements for disability, and collect all of the information necessary to prove your case.

This is the point when most claimants hire an attorney to help with the process. Many people fear that they cannot afford an attorney, so they must navigate the SSD maze all alone. However, most disability attorneys work on a contingency fee basis – so there is no upfront cost, and you do not pay a fee unless they win a favorable decision for you. When you get paid, the attorney gets paid. You have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney to help, and you will rest easy knowing that someone familiar with the process is advocating on your behalf.

So, now what?

If you have received a denial letter, be sure to note when your appeal is due.  If the deadline is quickly approaching, go ahead and appeal online.  Next, use this SSD Case Evaluation form to help you and your attorney decide whether your claim might win an appeal.

What if you are just too sick, tired, or unable to drive to see an attorney? No problem. We often encounter disability clients who are unable to meet. All communication and work on your case can be accomplished by email, regular mail, or phone – if that is what you need.


Originally published: March 11, 2014 at

Last updated: October 4, 2017 at 10:01 am

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