By Dennis L. Plank, Attorney
Filing a Social Security Disability (SSD) claim in Pennsylvania can be complex and time-sensitive. Once a claim has been submitted, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may request additional information or documentation within a short timeframe.
If a claim is denied, the applicant has just sixty days to file an appeal. Therefore, it is crucial to promptly respond to any correspondence from the SSA and meet all deadlines associated with the initial submission or additional requests.
Here are some steps to take during that time to successfully contest the denial.
Identify any Errors in Your Social Security Disability Claim
To successfully contest a denied Social Security Disability claim within sixty days, it is important to identify any errors or inconsistencies in the initial claim. These may include missing or incorrect paperwork, such as personal information about the applicant and their family members, work details, and previous workers’ compensation information.
Additionally, it is important to have thorough documentation of any medical conditions or impairments that qualify for disability benefits. By addressing these issues and providing the necessary information, applicants can improve their chances of successfully appealing a denied claim.
Address any Missing Medical Information
Social Security Disability applicants in Pennsylvania must provide detailed medical information, including the names and contact information of all medical professionals involved in their care and dates of visits, test results, diagnoses, and treatments.
They must also submit personally identifying documents such as birth certificates, military discharge papers for those who served before 1968, W2 forms, or self-employment and tax returns. It is crucial to double-check all information for accuracy and completeness, as missing or conflicting details can result in a delay or denial of the claim.
Avoid Filing for Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment and SSD benefits are two distinct programs that serve different purposes. Unemployment benefits are intended for people who are looking for work; whereas, Social Security Disability benefits are for those who are unable to work.
As a result, it’s common for the Social Security Administration to deny a disability claim from someone currently receiving unemployment benefits.
However, there are situations where an individual may be eligible to receive both unemployment and SSD benefits. For example, if an individual can work in a limited capacity due to their disability, they may be able to collect both benefits.
Be sure to carefully evaluate the qualifications for each program before applying to avoid potential conflicts that could result in a denied claim. In Pennsylvania, the SSA has specific guidelines for determining eligibility for SSD benefits.
First, an individual must be physically or mentally impaired for at least one year. They must not engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of the impairment. The SSA may also consider an individual’s work history and education level when determining their eligibility for benefits.
Follow Doctor’s Orders
It is crucial for individuals seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Pennsylvania to continue following their doctor’s orders. A doctor’s opinion can greatly influence the outcome of a claim, as it can provide details on the severity of the injury and its impact on the applicant’s ability to work and function daily.
A physician’s letter can also outline the expected duration of the disability and any current or future treatments. Failing to adhere to a prescribed treatment plan, such as taking medication or following a physical regimen, can result in a denied claim.
The SSA may deny a claim if it perceives that the applicant is not taking their medical condition seriously or prolonging their injury. Similarly, taking on paid employment, even part-time, can lead to a denied claim as the Social Security Administration may view the individual as capable of earning a living.
Let a Lancaster County Attorney Help You Appeal a Denied Claim
Having an experienced lawyer on your side increases the chances of appealing a denied claim. At the Law Offices of Going and Plank, we don’t charge to help with denied Social Security Disability Claims unless our client gets their benefits.
Our experienced attorneys can review your case, gather any missing evidence or documentation, and address any mistakes or errors in your initial claim. We can also negotiate deadline extensions and assist in preparing for the appeal hearing.
For more than sixty years, the Law Offices of Going and Plank have helped Lancaster County work through legal challenges. We provide a low-stress environment and experienced legal experts to help our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out more.
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