Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Denied Application for Benefits

In Colorado, approximately two-thirds of all initial applications for SSDI and/or SSI benefits are denied following the initial application.  If your application for benefits is denied, you have the right to a hearing in front of a U.S. Administrative Law Judge who will issue a new decision as to whether you are disabled. You have 60 days from the date on the denial letter to request a hearing.  Failure to file a request for a hearing within the designated time frame usually results in having to file a brand-new application.

It takes a long time to actually have a hearing after you have requested one.  You may have to wait 12-15 months before your hearing is held.  Before the hearing, you will be asked to provide additional medical and/or vocational evidence about your conditions and how they prevent you from working regularly.  At the hearing, you will be asked to testify about your conditions and how they affect your ability to work.  At most hearings, a vocational expert (not anyone you know or will have met with) also testifies regarding how your past work is generally performed and what jobs might exist that a person with limitations such as yours could still do.

You may wish to contact a lawyer who practices in the Social Security disability field, either when you initially apply or once you have received a letter denying your application.  Lawyers who represent disabled workers are generally well-versed in Social Security’s regulations and rules.  They have a good understanding of what evidence needs to be obtained prior to the hearing and what evidence, including your testimony, needs to be presented at the hearing.  Social Security must approve any fee a lawyer charges a person seeking SSDI and/or SSI benefits.  Generally, Social Security will approve a fee that is contingent on you being found to be disabled and therefore entitled to past-due benefits.  Social Security has indicated that it will approve such a fee if it is for “25% of the past-due benefits or $6,000.00, whichever is LESS”.  If you have difficulty finding an attorney to represent you, you might want to contact the Legal Aid program in your area or the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) for assistance or referrals.

Information provided by Ruth K. Irvin, Attorney