Denied Social Security Claims in Atlanta
If your request for Social Security disability benefits has been denied in the Atlanta area, don’t panic. You aren’t alone—67% of initial disability claims are denied. Your first step is to file an appeal to start earning benefits in Atlanta and Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb counties.
There are different types of programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. The Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income programs both pay benefits to those who meet the specific qualifications.
The Social Security benefits claims attorneys at Cruz & Associates can help you understand your denial letter and get started on your appeal.
Why Was Your Claim Denied?
- Your notice of denial from the Social Security Administration should include a reason for denial. Common reasons include
- You earn too much income.
- You won’t be disabled long enough, or your injury isn’t severe enough.
- The SSA and Disability Determination Services cannot find you. Be sure you have valid contact information and are responsive to messages.
- You aren’t cooperating. If you decline to share medical records or financial information with the department, claims will likely be denied.
- You don’t follow medical treatment. There are a few exceptions to a doctor’s orders, but if you haven’t followed the treatments you’ve agreed to, your claims could be denied.
- Your disability is based on drug or alcohol addiction. If you would not be considered disabled if you stopped using drugs or alcohol, you may not qualify for benefits.
- You have been convicted of a crime. This may prevent you from receiving benefits if you are currently in prison, were injured while committing a crime, or were injured in prison.
- You commit fraud.
Whether or not your denial falls into one of these cases, you most likely still have the right to file for an appeal.
How You Can Appeal
There are four different levels of appeal. This means you have four different chances to show the department you need assistance from Social Security programs, either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The levels are:
Reconsideration basically means that your case will be reviewed as you submitted it by somebody who was not involved in the first determination. If you’re denied again after reconsideration, don’t be discouraged. Reconsiderations have a denial rate of up to 87%, but you can move on to the next level and try again.
If you request a hearing, this will be conducted by an administrative law judge who was not part of your initial determination. You may be asked for more information before the hearing so the judge can review your case. During the hearing, you and any witnesses will be questioned. Hearings may be held in person or virtually. You will learn more about how yours will be conducted after you request a hearing.
Appeals Council Review
The Social Security Appeals Council is the next step if you’re not happy with the outcome of your hearing. It is possible that the Appeals Council may agree with the hearing decision, but they will review every request for appeal. Either way, you will be notified of the Appeals Council’s decision.
Federal Court Review
Filing a lawsuit with the federal district court is your final chance at appealing your Social Security disability denial. Your letter from the Appeals Council will detail how to go about pursuing a federal court case.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Seeing your denied request for Social Security benefits can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that this is very common.The experienced attorneys at Cruz & Associates are prepared to walk you through the appeals process or assist you in finding other means of support.
To set up your complimentary consultation with us, simply fill out our online contact form or give our Atlanta office a call today.