If you are a Colorado resident who applied for Social Security Disability but had your application denied, you are not alone, and all is not lost. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration approves fewer than 33% of first-time SSDI applications. That said, the law allows you to appeal your initial denial.
Actually, you have four levels of appeal you can pursue:
- You can file for a reconsideration by whichever state agency denied your claim.
- You can request an administrative law judge for a hearing.
- You can apply to the Appeals Council for a review.
- You can petition a federal court for a review.
Statute of limitations
Once you receive your denial letter, you have only 60 days to appeal the denial, and you must state your intention to appeal in writing. Should you fail to meet this exceptionally short filing deadline, you will likely lose your right to appeal.
When you appeal, your best interests dictate that you provide more information and documentation than you did when you originally applied for SSDI. For instance, you should include the following documents with your appeal:
- Any medical records you neglected to provide initially and any you have received since your original application
- The results of all medical tests you underwent, especially those you received after your initial application
- Written opinions from your doctor(s) as to the nature and severity of your injury, illness, disability or condition
- Written opinions from non-medical sources such as friends, colleagues or vocational experts as to the way in which your injury, illness, disability or condition negatively impacts your ability to work
- Written receipt of every document you sent to your insurer
The Social Security Administration must, by law, guarantee your right to the assistance of an attorney when you apply for SSDI or appeal a denial thereof. Keep in mind that in all likelihood, you will not need to pay your attorney up-front. Instead, (s)he likely will take his or her fee out of the past-due SSDI benefits you ultimately receive.