PLEASE NOTE: Our office is still open, serving our clients, and taking new clients, too! Attorneys and staff are working remotely and/or safely apart within our office(s) while recognizing the recommended guidelines for social distancing. Your health and safety, and that of our staff, is important to our firm. In response to the threats of COVID-19, we are currently offering clients and potential clients the ability to communicate with our attorneys and staff by telephone or email. As soon as it is deemed safe to meet in person, we will be happy to schedule in-office appointments. In the meantime, please contact our office by telephone or email to discuss your legal needs. We continue to fight for your disability benefits during this difficult and unprecedented time. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

How to respond to a disability benefits denial

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When an applicant for Social Security disability benefits faces an initial denial in California, there are two main ways to respond. They could file an entirely new disability claim or appeal the denial with the Social Security Administration. In order to launch a new disability claim, the applicant must repeat all of the work that went into their original application from the beginning. This includes filling out relevant forms and providing medical and employment information. The applicant will also need to provide a new medical release form to the local Social Security office before the disability determination process can begin again.

Because a new disability benefits application restarts the process , the disability examiner will once again send requests to the applicant’s doctors for medical records and information. The disability examiner can make a decision or request the applicant to come in for a consultative examination. This kind of exam is performed by a doctor working with Social Security to assess if an applicant’s physical or psychological disability is sufficiently severe. This can be a substantially longer process than entering the appeals process.

By filing an appeal, the claimant must meet the time restrictions provided by the Social Security information and provide updates to existing employment and medical details. A disability attorney can also handle the appeal process without a significant amount of involvement or work by the applicant.

Most importantly, however, filing a Social Security disability appeal is often a good option because an applicant faces an improved chance of approval later in the appeals process. A disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge can give an applicant the opportunity to present detailed information about their disability.