What If My Social Security Disability is Denied?

Distressed man holding his head

Due to strict reporting requirements for medical proof of disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a large amount of initial claims that are submitted. When a claim is denied in Illinois, a social security claims Chicago attorney can file an appeal to have the claim reheard in a hearing or court review

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

Qualifying for Illinois Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging, even in cases of severe disability. In a typical year, more than 70 percent of Illinois residents who apply for disability benefits will be denied on their disability application or initial claim. The majority of disability applicants will have to file an appeal or request a hearing to receive their Social Security Disability award. When a claim is denied, an attorney who handles Social Security claims Chicago can file for different types of hearings during the disability appeals process: Hearings can include:

  • Disability Reconsideration Hearings
  • Hearings Before Administrative Law Judges and Officers
  • Appellate Council Reviews
  • District Court Reviews

Social Security Disability applicants always risk claim denial if they do not provide adequate medical documentation, regardless of the severity of their conditions or level of appeal. To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must prove that his/her case satisfies both medical and non-medical criteria, and even then the decision to award disability benefits is not guaranteed.

In addition to medical proof of the disability, an applicant must meet the SSA’s employment and earnings record criteria to qualify for benefits. Applicants are eligible for SSD benefits based on their work credits and earnings records. To qualify for benefits, a claimant must have at least 40 work credits and a current work history. Recipients must show 5 years of work history and/or 20 credits during the last decade before the disability developed.

Medical Impairment

The Social Security Administration publishes a “Blue Book” of impairment listings, or recognized disabling conditions. If a person suffers from one of these listed conditions, and the condition meets SSA’s severity requirements, the individual will likely qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

The SSA also recognizes certain serious conditions that qualify for expedited processing through the Compassionate Allowances Program. This list includes more than 150 conditions that virtually always qualify for benefits. A Social Security claims Chicago attorney can explain SSA’s accepted impairment listings and the Compassionate Allowances Program that allows for faster claims processing.