Key Points of This Article:
- Suppose you live in Michigan and cannot work for at least one year due to illness or injury. In that case, you could qualify for federal Social Security disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in the form of monthly cash payments.
- Applying to receive Social Security Disability benefits can be frustrating, tedious, and drawn out over a long period of time. Most filers’ experience draws the common conclusion that the process is complex.
- The Social Security Administration denies most initial applications, but the success rate upon appealing the initial denial is much higher.
- If your claim for benefits has been denied, you can file a request for reconsideration with the help of an experienced Michigan Social Security Disability attorney. Legal support can significantly increase your chances of approval and distribution of benefits.
After A Social Security Disability Denial, You Can File a Request for Reconsideration
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can anticipate a decision to arrive in the mail within four to six months following the initial filing. To increase the chances of your application being approved for disability benefits in Michigan, you’ll need to have a significant amount of information on hand. This might include details about the condition causing you to be unable to work, documentation regarding the medical or psychiatric treatment you’ve obtained due to your condition, and your past employment records, including any earnings. Unfortunately, the gathering of these supporting application documents can feel like a lot of heavy lifting and difficult for some applicants, especially for someone who is battling chronic pain, financial stressors, and a disability.
A claims examiner at Michigan’s Disability Determination Services (DDS), located in Detroit, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Traverse City, is not able to necessarily sympathize with your personal stressors, and ultimately, they will decide whether you are disabled based solely on the information you provide in your application. Unfortunately, only about a third (38%) of those who apply for benefits in Michigan are approved after their initial application, and most others will be denied. Common reasons for the initial denial are usually related to minor technicalities regarding an applicant’s medical condition and record of symptoms, missing information in work history, diagnostic test results, if the impairments meet the list requirements, as well as a discussion about an applicant’s residual functional capacity.
Reviewing Your Denial Letter in Detail Is The First Step In Moving Forward
Typically, an applicant may get frustrated upon receiving a denial letter and decide to file a new claim for SSD benefits instead. However, getting denied does not mean you don’t have the foundation for a successful case. Most denials occur because there was not enough medical documentation provided with the initial application to support your case. And unfortunately, disability claims are not always adequately reviewed, and a denial of benefits is made solely on the evidence contained in the record. Therefore, when you receive your denial letter, always review it closely to understand the reason for the denial. It could be an easy fix!
- Denial letters will include a description of the medical conditions, and the impairments the applicant alleges are causing the disability from employment. Make sure your medical condition is listed.
- The denial letter will also state the medical records that were considered. Review the records to ensure all were sent and received.
- If you do not understand the denial response, take the time to seek answers from professionals at the SSA or with a Michigan personal injury attorney experienced in Social Security Disability law, applying for benefits, appeals, and denials.
A significant number of applicants are granted benefits at the later stages post a denial, through filling a request for reconsideration, or when necessary, with an appeal and hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Before you can request an appeal hearing in Michigan, you must formally request that DDS reconsider your application.
How To File a Request for Reconsideration of Social Security Disability Benefits
Nationally, about 14% of claims are approved at the reconsideration stage.
When you file a claim for reconsideration, you will again submit your application and provide any missing information to address the notes in your denial letter. A different claims examiner than the one who denied your initial application would also be assigned to your case. Consider taking the following steps to maximize your chances of success in the reconsideration process by being fully prepared with this additional information.
Documented Notes to Prove Your Condition and Disability
Start by collecting your thoughts on how your condition or illness has worsened since the initial filing and write them down. For example, are you using an assistive device like a cane, a walker, or a brace because of mobility issues? Are you taking medications in response to your symptoms? Are you missing work due to your pain or ongoing medical treatments? Can you not attend family activities or participate in daily exercise, prepare your meals, or drive? Do you suffer from any side effects secondary to your medications? Financially, are you challenged by your condition due to medical bills and a loss of work?
- Diagnosis Information from Your Medical Providers
Although you have likely already collected and submitted your official diagnosis documents, report the dates you have seen your physicians, any upcoming tests you may have (present or future), and include an updated list of medications. The more documentation and information you provide to support your asserted limitations, the greater the probability of your conditions meeting the specific criteria for disability under the rules and regulations of the SSA.
- Communicate Promptly and Respond to All SSA Requests
The SSA may require you to complete additional paperwork regarding your conditions and symptoms, and in combination, how those impact your ability to function daily. Ensure those forms are completed and submitted before the stated deadline. Do not be afraid to contact your examiner for your claim status or to ensure that all requested documents are received and reviewed.
- Medical Professional Opinions
Speak to your doctor(s) about obtaining a medical diagnosis and prognosis opinions directly relating to your conditions, signs of increasing pain, emotional distress, new injury symptoms, and why you cannot work and for how long. In addition to providing the paperwork requested, ask your treating physician to include these additional statements in writing and submit them with your reconsideration documents.
- Consultative Examinations
The SSA may require you to appear for a physical or mental evaluation to assess your conditions further. Therefore, it is imperative that you appear for these scheduled appointments as the opinion of the SSA’s medical professionals in combination with any assessed limitations will significantly impact the outcome of the claim.
Suppose the outcome of the request for reconsideration prompts a formal appeal. In that case, your chances of receiving benefits will be increased by hiring an attorney to guide and assist you through the process. The average wait time for a Social Security Disability hearing in Michigan is 14 months. Currently, the Detroit office has applicants waiting for a hearing for about one year.
Get Legal Help to File for Social Security Disability Benefits in Michigan
Lee Steinberg Law Firm represents Social Security Disability applicants across the state of Michigan. Whether you are applying for the first time at the initial stage, filing a request for reconsideration, or appealing a denial, we can help get you started. We have represented individuals seeking SSD and SSI benefits for over 40 years and have a history of winning significant awards for our clients. Please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We come to you, and there is no fee unless we settle your case.