Decades Of Experience In Workers’ Compensation And Social Security Disability

How to prepare for a successful disability appeal

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Social Security Disability

A lot of Social Security disability claims are initially denied. The grounds for these denials vary, with justifications ranging from insufficient medical evidence to disqualifying work history and incomplete applications.

While a claim denial can knock the breath out of you, leaving you worried about your financial future, there are appellate avenues that may give you the relief that you need. While many disability claims are ultimately granted on appeal, you can’t blindly walk into the process.

To maximize your chances of obtaining the benefits that you need, you have to have a strong legal strategy going into your disability appeal.

Tips for appealing your claim denial

Figuring out how to prepare for your disability appeal can be stressful, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. However, here are some tips that might put you at ease and give you some direction as you start to think through how to address your pending appeal:

  • Gather medical evidence: As mentioned above, one of the most common justifications for a disability claim denial is lack of medical evidence. So, be sure to gather all relevant medical documentation that speaks to your condition, its severity, and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Review the disability bluebook: The government publishes a “blue book” that specifies the requirements that must be met for each qualifying medical condition before disability benefits will be granted. Therefore, each condition has unique requirements that must be met. By learning about the requirements applicable to your condition, you can better target your arguments on appeal.
  • Attend any required examinations: As part of the claims process, you may be asked to attend an examination of your physical or mental health, depending on what condition you possess. By attending requested examinations, cooperating, and providing needed information, you’ll better ensure that the information needed to properly adjudicate your claim is provided.
  • Prepare your testimony: There are various phases of a disability appeal, but at one of them you’ll have the opportunity to testify in front of an administrative law judge. You don’t want to walk in on the day of your hearing and make up your testimony as you go. Instead, you should outline it and practice it so that your testimony targets the legal requirements that must be shown to secure the benefits you need.
  • Be prepared to answer questions: Although you’ll have an opportunity to tell your story through your testimony, and you should certainly prepare that testimony, you should also anticipate that the administrative law judge will ask you several questions during your appellate hearing. Do your best to anticipate these questions so that you can directly answer them in a way that speaks to the requirements that must be shown to secure disability benefits.
  • Stay calm and respectful: We know that the disability claims process can be frustrating, but you don’t want to take it out on the individual reviewing your case, as that could have unintended consequences. So, if you feel yourself becoming upset, take a moment to breathe deeply and center yourself before proceeding.

Avoid missing an opportunity

The appellate avenues open to you give opportunities to acquire the financial lifesaver needed while you find a way to live life with a disability. But the process can be complicated and seemingly unfair.

You can balance the scales, though, by being fully prepared for the appellate process ahead. So, take the time needed to learn about disability appeals and what you can do to position yourself for success.