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Your Social Security Disability claim was just denied: Here’s what to do next

You struggled your way through the Social Security Disability (SSD) application process, filled out every paper you were sent, signed medical releases and waited — then, waited some more.

When you finally got a letter, it said that your claim was denied. What do you do now?

The next three steps you should take

There are exactly three steps you need to take right away:

  1. Read your denial letter. Somewhere in that denial letter, Social Security will give its justification for denying your claim. Did your doctor fail to return medical information? Does Social Security believe that you can still do sedentary work? Has your condition not yet lasted a year? Knowing the reason for the denial gives you clues about the challenges you need to overcome.
  2. Gather your most recent medical information. You’ve probably been to the doctor or hospital several times since you filed your claim. Gather up as much information as you can about those visits and the results so that you can make them a part of your appeal.
  3. Call an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. It costs nothing to hire an attorney to represent you on your appeal because you only pay a portion of your past-due benefits if your claim is successful.

The first stage of your appeal is called a reconsideration. That process is very similar to the initial application process. If your claim fails again, you can then ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, where you can plead your case in person.

The Social Security Disability claims process is notoriously convoluted. If your claim was denied, don’t give up. Get help, instead.