Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tips for Filing a Disability Appeal

Here's another question from a forum. Generally speaking, most claimants should be fine filing their own appeals. However, here are some ways in which claimants "miss the mark" when they file a disability appeal on their own.

1. They often wait far too long to file an appeal. As in not even thinking about it until five days before the appeal deadline. This, of course, is not a good approach to handing disability appeals but it happens all the time. And guess what, the deadline for sending in an appeal does not mean that the envelope you send the appeal in (assuming you are mailing it) must be postmarked by the deadline. It must actually be received at the social security office by the deadline date (which, by the way, is 60 days from the date of denial plus five additional days for mailing).

2. Claimants who do their own appeals often to forget to make a copy of the paperwork for their own records. Always keep a copy of anything you send in to the social security office, if, for no other reason than to keep track of what has happened, or has been done, on your case.

3. Claimants sometimes make the mistake of thinking that a new disability application is an appeal. Sounds illogical of course, but I've seen this happen more times than I can count. Note: they are not the same. In other words, if you get denied, file an appeal, not a new claim (unless the first claim was denied because you were working and earning too much, or the claim was for SSI and you exceeded the $2000 asset resource limit).

4. Claimants sometimes fail to indicate relevant information on their appeal paperwork, such as new dates of treatment, a change in their condition, or a new diagnosis.

Here's something else to consider when you file your own appeal and this one applies to those who file their social security disability appeal or SSI disability appeal online: if you are filing a request for reconsideration appeal and you are doing it online, make sure you also submit the Appeal Disability Report (form SSA-3441) and the medical release forms (form SSA-827). The information given by SSA online makes repeated references to the Appeal Disability Report. However, what does not seem to be mentioned is that, without the receipt of signed medical release forms, a reconsideration appeal cannot be transferred from the social security office to the state disability agency (to be assigned to a disability examiner). This is not the case with an appeal that is a "request for hearing". Those appeals are sent on to the hearing office. Reconsiderations, however, are held up if the SSA-827 medical release forms have not been sent in. This last bit of information, by the way, comes courtesy of a social security field office CR (claims rep) that I know.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

How much does it cost to process a Social Security Disability Claim?
The Social Security Disability Process - a long and lengthy wait for most
Appeals for Social Security Disability - Disability Appeals Process
Why does it take so long to get a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI Disability case?
Appeals, Disability, and Social Security


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