It can be difficult to get approved for Social Security Disability benefits in West Virginia. In fact, only 21% get approved on the initial application. However, you have rights and options that you could use if your claim has been denied.
Reasons why first-time applications get rejected
Maybe the disability examiner didn’t believe that your medical condition was severe enough to prevent you from working. Or perhaps the evidence in your file wasn’t strong enough to prove that you meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.”
Other reasons for Social Security Disability denial include:
• Making too much money in the last year
• Not working long enough to qualify
• Failing to follow the instructions on the application
• Addiction to alcohol or other drugs causing the disability
Steps you can take
You have the right to appeal a denial notice from the Social Security Administration in West Virginia. The first step is usually requesting a reconsideration of your claim within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.
During the reconsideration process, your claim will be reviewed by someone who didn’t handle your initial claim. This person will look at all the evidence in your file as well as any new evidence you submit.
If that doesn’t work, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is your opportunity to present testimony from yourself and witnesses, including friends, family members, co-workers and doctors. The ALJ will also consider any new evidence that you submit.
If you’re still denied benefits, you can go further and request a review by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council. The council can either deny your request or return your case to an ALJ for a new hearing. If the council denies your request or doesn’t respond within 60 days, you can file a lawsuit in federal district court.
While going through the appeals process, you can give yourself a better chance of winning your claim by gathering as much evidence as possible, ensuring that all your deadlines are met and properly preparing for your hearing. If things go well, you can get the benefits you need to cover your living expenses and medical bills.