The Short Answer: When in Doubt, Appeal.
The Long Answer:
Many of the people coming to us for help with Social Security Disability have applied in the past, but when their claim was denied, they chose not to appeal the denial. This can create problems for the claim. Some can be solved, but sometimes they cannot. If you are not sure whether it makes sense to appeal your denial, please consider the following:
First, going through the appeals process with Social Security disability can be a long-term proposition. Many folks will wait several months for the initial decision. If the initial claim application is denied, a request for reconsideration may only take a month, but could drag out to for five or six months.
The next appeal after a reconsideration is denied is a request for hearing, and depending upon the hearings office that schedules your case, you can be looking at well over a year before you get in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Sometimes a medical condition will improve after all these months, but other times, it will progress, and worsen.
The point is that you may not know where you will be with your health by the time a hearing is scheduled, and for that reason, it makes sense to appeal the claim and move forward. You can always withdraw your claim if your condition improves, and return to the work force.
Second, another problem not appealing a denial is that it may prevent a new application down the road. Depending upon the facts of your case, if you file an application for disability benefits, and that claim is denied, it may prevent you from filing a new application in the future. In many cases, Social Security will claim that it already decided that you are not disabled, and unless you are able to come up with new evidence that was not in your claims file the first time around, your claim will be denied. Making sure you appeal your denials will give you your best shot at having the case heard and decided with all of the required information.
If you have questions about whether to appeal a claim denial, call us at 503-325-8600. We can review your case, and let you know the consequences of appealing the denial, or not.