Do I Need To Be Denied Disability Before Obtaining A Lawyer?

August 14, 2018 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Do I Need To Be Denied Disability Before Obtaining A Lawyer?

When your initial claim for Social Security Disability is denied, you should consider contacting a lawyer to represent your best interests and help guide you through the appeals process. Our Cincinnati Social Security disability attorneys understand the specific criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) look for when determining if you qualify for disability benefits. We can assist in gathering the information you need, building a strong case to help you access the benefits you deserve. Below, we will walk you through the appeals process, so you know what to expect if your claim is denied. Request a free consultation today to speak with our attorneys regarding your claim.

Reasons Disability Claims Are Denied

Each year, approximately 30 percent of disability claims are approved by the SSA at the initial application level. Reasons behind claim denial vary from one claim to the next, though there are some common reasons your claim may be denied. These can include:

Lack Of Significant Medical Evidence

Your disability claim may be denied if you have not submitted solid medical evidence supporting your disability. You must submit medical records that support your disability interfering with your ability to work. This is your responsibility to send – the SSA will not send you to a physician who will gather evidence on your claim. Along with your medical records, send any doctor’s notes that excuse you from work, work records that suggest modified scheduling and records showing the amount of time you missed from work due to your disability.

Prior Denials

If you have been denied in the past, filing a new claim is not a better alternative to following the appeals process for your denied claim. New claims can be denied based on your prior denial. Initiating the appeals process is your best course of action.

Your Income

If your current income exceeds the substantial gainful activity (SGA) allowance by the SSA, then your application will be denied for disability benefits. This only includes money earned from working. In some cases, those who apply for Supplemental Security Income are allowed to work part time. However, if you work and earn more than $850 per month, your claim for disability may also be denied.

Not Following Treatment

If you do not follow treatment prescribed by your physician for your disability, your claim will be denied. The SSA cannot determine whether your condition is affecting your ability to work if you have not cooperated with your doctor’s prescribed treatment. If you have a valid reason for not sticking to your doctor’s prescribed treatment, you can address it during the appeals process. It is best that a disability attorney represents you in such matters.

Failure To Cooperate

It is in your best interest to cooperate with the SSA during the application process. If you do not provide requested documents or do not attend scheduled medical exams, your claim will be denied.

The Appeals Process For Ssdi And SSI

If you wish to appeal your disability claim denial, the following is the process for doing so.


Once you receive notice that your claim has been denied, you may request your claim be reconsidered. During this phase of appeal, your claim is reviewed by someone who was not involved with the original decision. Original evidence as well as new evidence will be considered, and a determination will be issued.


If you wish to appeal the reconsideration decision, you may request a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ) and is typically held within 75 miles of where you live. You may be asked for additional evidence before your hearing, or clarification of existing evidence. At your hearing, the ALJ will question you, any witnesses you bring or vocational experts testifying on your behalf. You or your lawyer may also question these witnesses. It is in your best interest to attend the hearing to explain your case. Your hearing may be conducted by video. If you cannot attend or do not want to attend the hearing, you must submit in writing your reasoning why to the ALJ. Following the hearing, the ALJ will issue a decision and you will receive a copy of the decision.

Appeals Council

To appeal the hearing decision, you may request a claim review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council may deny your request if they believe the hearing decision was accurate. The Appeals Council can decide your case or appoint an ALJ to perform further review. If your request is denied, you will be sent a letter explaining the denial. If the Appeals Council conducts a review and comes to a decision, you will be notified. If an ALJ is appointed for review, you will be notified of that order.

Federal Court

If you do not agree with the Appeal Council’s decision or denial of review, you have the option to file a case in federal district court. You will receive information from the Appeals Council on how to ask the court to examine your case.

Why Hiring A Disability Lawyer Matters

Hiring a disability lawyer is in your best interest when filing a claim, especially if your claim has been denied and you wish to appeal the decision. Our experienced our Social Security Disability lawyers know how to make your case favorable and will advise you on your initial application to help you make the most persuasive claim for benefits. We can help provide strong representation for you throughout all levels of the appeals process. An attorney will work to collect strong evidence, draft legal briefs and secure expert testimony that will aid your claim. Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options are available for pursuing disability benefits. There are no upfront fees when you work with our firm and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.