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Social Security Disability Decision Letter - A Complete Guide

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help those unable to work because of a disability get some financial and mental relief. However, the wait to understand if you have won or been denied benefits can be as frustrating as the disability itself.

After a medical determination has been made in your SSD claim, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send a decision letter. It tries to send a Notice of Award or Notice of Denial immediately after a decision in your case. The steps you should take after receiving the decision letter depend on the stage at which you receive the letter.

Once a medical determination has been made in your Social Security Disability claim, you will receive a benefits letter. The Social Security Administration tries to send a Notice of Award or a Notice of Denial promptly after a decision is made in the case. Therefore, it should be a matter of days before the decision is made. Your next steps will be determined by whether you were approved for a monthly disability benefit or denied.

Approved For Disability Benefits at The Initial Determination Stage

If the SSA approves you for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at the initial determination stage, you can expect that you will receive a decision letter within a few days.

Claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or concurrent disability claims (Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability) are redirected to the local Social Security office for a Pre-effectuation Review Contact (PERC). It is in the form of an interview that reviews your income and resources to determine if you are eligible to continue receiving monthly disability benefits or are entitled to SSI benefits over a waiting period of five months.

In some cases, the SSA may send a letter indicating that the claimant has met medical requirements for the disability programs, but their claim will be first sent to the local Social Security office for determining whether they are still earning below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level and still meet the non-medical requirements prescribed by the SSA regulations.

  • For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility, you need to show that you worked recently and paid sufficient Social Security taxes to qualify for SSDI benefits.
  • For SSI eligibility, you need to prove that you meet the SSA criteria of income and resource limitations for the needs-based program.

If you manage to prove that you still meet Social Security Administration's criteria for nonmedical requirements, it will send you a favorable decision letter called Notice of Award. Otherwise, you will receive a denial letter.

Denial of Application

If the SSA does not approve you for benefits, you will get a notification immediately and will be given only 65 days to appeal for reconsideration from the date of the initial decision. This letter, a Notice of Denial, will inform you about your right to appeal and apply for a reconsideration hearing.

The best course of action after being denied benefits at the initial disability determination stage is to apply to the SSA for a reconsideration hearing. However, before applying for a reconsideration hearing, you must get a fair idea of the reasons for the denial of benefits. The reasons may include insufficient and improper documentation, failure in complying with the treatment plan, and inability to prove that the disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.

At London Disability, we can help you appeal a denial by compiling sufficient documentation to support your case and framing sufficient reasoning to prove that you are unable to work.

An accomplished and experienced lawyer at our office can also help you avoid mistakes that could lead to your appeal getting dismissed at any of the four levels of appeal.

What Happens After you appeal Notice of Denial?

After your appeal comes up for hearing before a judge, you will be given a Notice of Decision from the Office of Hearings Operations.

If you get an approval letter at the ALJ (administrative law judge) disability hearing, there may be a slight delay in the award letter because the judge’s decision must first be prepared, and then dispatched for processing.

If you are denied disability benefits at a hearing before the ALJ, you will be given a “Notice of Decision – Unfavorable” explaining the denial, providing the records that were used to determine the decision, and a list of the impairments that were assessed. The letter will also state that the claimant has the right to prefer appeal before the Appeals Council.

Speak with an experienced SSD benefits lawyer at London Disability Today.

Winning SSD benefits is not simple and straightforward. More than two-thirds of all applications for disability benefits do not get approved. So, if you or a loved one suffers from a disabling impairment(s), you must consider speaking with an experienced and skillful SSD benefits Advocate at our office. Contact London Disability today for a free consultation and case review.

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