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Erie E-Law is a complimentary service of the Erie County Bar Association designed to make basic legal information available to you with ease. You can gain access to E-Law either by reading the information found below or by contacting us to request a copy of the transcripts.

Have You Been Denied Social Security Benefits?

Posted on February 19th, 2019 at 4:33 PM

If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on Social Security denial, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral & Information Service.

Social Security disability benefits provide income for people who cannot support themselves through employment due to a medical disability. To qualify for Social Security disability you must be able to show that you have medical problems serious enough to keep you from supporting yourself through working and that you have paid enough Social Security taxes while working to have become entitled to benefits. Both of these qualification requirements are defined by Social Security law. If you qualify for Social Security disability the amount of your benefits is based on a formula that takes into account how much you have paid in Social Security taxes and other factors. You have the right to file an appeal if you have filed an application for Social Security disability and received a notice denying your claim. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial plus five days for mailing. The denial notice will tell you how you can file an appeal.

Do not be discouraged if your application for Social Security disability is denied. While you can represent yourself, many applicants for Social Security disability are successful on appeal of their initial claim denial. Please note as well that your chances of success are usually even higher on appeal if you obtain legal representation.  You may contact the Erie County Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service at 459-4411 for referral to an attorney who handles Social Security disability cases. You can also use the phone book, internet or word of mouth to find a lawyer. In most cases, an attorney will handle a Social Security disability case on a contingent fee basis, meaning you will not have to pay up front for the representation. Your lawyer will take their fee from your past due Social Security benefits if your appeal is successful.

Unfortunately, it is usually a long time from when you file an appeal and a hearing is scheduled on the appeal with a Social Security Administrative Law Judge so you will have to be patient. While waiting for your hearing you, or your attorney if you have one, will be responsible to obtain medical records Social Security does not already have and develop more evidence to help prove your case.

You can appeal again if the Administrative Law Judge denies your claim. You should, however, have your case evaluated by a Social Security disability attorney before filing an appeal from an Administrative Law Judge denial to make sure you have a valid reason under the law to appeal again.

It is, for many people, easier to qualify for Social Security disability as they get older and, obviously, if their medical problems get worse. If you have been denied Social Security disability in the past, but you are now older and/or your medical problems have gotten worse, consider filing a new application for Social Security disability, which you can do at any time as there are no limits on the number of times you can file for benefits.

Information is current as of 2/2019.