Social Security Disability & SSI - If You are Denied Benefits

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1. What can I do if I am Denied Benefits?

Many people do not get benefits when they first apply, but don't be discouraged. You can often get benefits by appealing and having a Social Security hearing.

Most people are denied benefits because the SSA thinks:

  • The evidence does not show a serious medical problem
  • The disability won't last 12 months
  • The person can do work other than his or her usual job

If you think Social Security was wrong in denying you SSD or SSI benefits you can fight the decision by:

  1. Asking for a reconsideration
  2. If you still don't get benefits, ask for a hearing. (You have to go through a reconsideration before you can ask for a hearing.)

2. How do I ask for Reconsideration?

To get the SSA to reconsider your claim, you must call, visit or write the local Social Security Office within 60 days of the date of denial of benefits. Sign and give to SSA a form entitled "Request for Reconsideration." Your case will be reviewed again and you will be notified by mail of the decision in about 4 months.

Do not be discouraged if your claim is denied at first or on reconsideration. Denials at these stages are common. Many people win their cases at hearings.

3. How do I ask for a Hearing?

If your "Request for Reconsideration" is denied, you can appeal the decision by asking for a hearing. The hearing is your chance to explain your situation face-to-face to someone who can grant you benefits.

You can have a lawyer, paralegal, or other advocate represent you at the hearing. Many people win benefits after the hearing, so it is worth trying. If you want to have an attorney represent you, call your local Legal Aid office for possible advice or representation. Go to for a directory of legal aid programs.

You can apply again later if you don't appeal your case, but you might no longer be eligible for benefits or you might get a smaller amount of benefits.

You must ask for a hearing within 60 days of the date of "Denial of Reconsideration." Forms for appeals are available from any Social Security office. On the form for requesting a hearing, be sure to mark the box saying that "you want to appear" at a hearing before a judge.

4. How can I get more Information?

For more information, call the Oregon Public Benefits Hotline (1-800-520-5292) or your local Legal Aid Services Office for possible advice or representation. Go to for a directory of legal aid programs.

Last Review and Update: Nov 08, 2010
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