It can be devastating to find a denial letter in your mailbox after many months of waiting to hear about Social Security benefits. You should understand, however, that you are far from finished with your quest to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If you are unable to work at your job because of a medical condition, you must take action and appeal your adverse ruling. Read on to learn more about appeals and what to do while waiting for your appeal.
Abiding by the SSA Timeline
Once you receive the letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you cannot waste. Applicants only have a certain amount of time to let the SSA know that they are requesting an appeal hearing. If you don't respond to the SSA within 60 days of the receipt of the letter, you must begin the application process all over again.
Seek Help From an Attorney
If you are entitled to back pay, you can afford a Social Security attorney. The attorney is paid directly from your back pay award in an agreement with the SSA. If you do not get approved for benefits at your appeal hearing, you don't have to pay the attorney anything at all. This form of professional legal help is too valuable to pass up since you have nothing to lose. Social Security attorneys understand the SSA appeals process, what the hearing officer needs to hear, how to cross-examine experts during the hearing, and what evidence you need to have your benefits approved.
While You Wait
Unfortunately, like almost all other SSA related issues, it can take some time to have your case heard. That doesn't mean you should isolate yourself from your attorney until the day of the appeal hearing. As the date of the appeal draws closer and closer, your contact with your attorney should increase. Here are some tasks to keep in mind while you wait:
1. Make sure your attorney knows how to get in touch with you. A good postal address is vital since the SSA uses the U.S. Postal Service exclusively to contact you. While it can be difficult to deal with the financial difficulties of being out of work, your attorney must be able to get in touch with you. If you cannot afford a phone, be sure to provide your attorney with at least two phone numbers of trusted friends or relatives that can be counted on to take messages for you. If you have not heard from your attorney for a few weeks, take the initiative and check in with them.
2. Continue to see your doctors about your medical condition. You might understand the need for getting medical care during your application process but you cannot just stop seeking treatment after your denial. The hearing judge may question why you should have benefits if you are not being treated. There is also a chance that, as time goes on, your medical condition will worsen. You will need to let your attorney know about any changes in your condition.
3. Update your attorney with each doctor's appointment, diagnostic test, medication prescription, etc. Having a complete set of medical records at your appeal hearing is vital to help prove your disability.
To learn more, speak to a Social Security disability attorney.