What to Do If You’re Denied Disability and Can’t Work

Are you unable to work but ineligible for disability benefits? Many Americans are denied disability and can’t work. Learn what you need to do next.

Compensation to disabled workers accounts for under 15% of the total social security payout. But, one of every four Americans will be disabled before reaching the retirement age of 67.

So why don’t those two numbers match up? That’s because not every disability actually qualifies for disability benefits.

Are you unable to work but ineligible for disability benefits? Many Americans are denied disability and can’t work. Keep reading to learn what you need to do next.


Ask for a Reconsideration Review

The first thing to do if it’s determined that you’re too sick to work but not sick enough for disability is to ask for a reconsideration review.

A reconsideration review is technically your first appeal. The social security office must receive this paperwork within 60 days of your decision notice. You can submit your paperwork online or mail it in, depending on your preferences.

During your reconsideration review, a social security disability examiner reviews your file. This is your chance to provide additional evidence backing up your disability. It’s strongly recommended that you add to your evidence files if you want a favorable decision.

Odds are, your reconsideration review will be denied again — this is common. But going through the reconsideration review allows you to ask for a disability hearing.


Appeal the Decision with an Attorney

When your reconsideration review is denied, enlist the help of an attorney to further appeal your case. The next step in the process is to request a disability hearing.

You must request the hearing within 60 days of your latest decision notice. For your disability hearing, you’re required to turn in additional evidence proving your eligibility.

Then you wait for a hearing date. This can take longer than a year to receive, so patience is important. During this time, keep collecting medical evidence by continuing to see your doctors and following their medical advice.

When you receive your hearing date, you and your attorney will have at least 75 additional days to prepare your case. Some people wait until this point to actually hire the attorney — that choice is up to you.

At the hearing, a judge will hear all the evidence provided by you and the social security evidence. You’ll then receive the judge’s decision a few months later. If denied, you have two more chances to appeal.

If all appeals fail, you can file a federal lawsuit. But as you’ve probably gathered, this whole process takes an extremely long time — a long time that you’re not receiving an income. This is why many people seek alternatives, like workers’ compensation.


Consider the Workers’ Compensation

If you’re still denied social security disability, you may qualify for Workers Compensation. The law that defines what qualifies as a disability is different between the two programs.

For workers’ compensation disability benefits, you must suffer from a lasting mental or physical limitation. This limitation can be a partial disability and you can still qualify for compensation.

But for social security disability, your impairment must disqualify you from keeping “substantially gainful employment.” As you’ve probably already discovered, this requires a lot more evidence to prove and qualify for.

This makes workers’ compensation a great alternative for those denied social security disability. While the compensation may not be as great, you’ll still have money coming in to help you live.


Denied Disability and Can’t Work? Stay Calm

The most important thing to remember if you’re denied disability and can’t work is to stay calm.

Your initial reaction may be shock and panic, but the denial isn’t permanent. Instead, try out a few of the above suggestions. And if you’re worried, enlist the help of an experienced attorney. With their help, you can gain the compensation you deserve.

Looking for more ways to improve your life while on disability? Browse our health section for more helpful posts.

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