October 30, 2014

Appealing a Denial of your MS Disability Claim

If you receive a denial letter following your submission of your application for SSDI benefits based on MS, you have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration (or an appeal).    There are no exceptions to this rule.  Most often, the date of the denial is located on the first page of the decision.  If you cannot find it on the first page, then take the time to find it.  It is that important.  When calculating the sixty days, start with the date of the decision and count sixty days forward.  This includes both weekends and holidays.  This new date will be the date on which your appeal is due.  Again, there is no exception to this rule.  It is good practice to file your appeal a minimum of ten to fifteen days before the due date.  This allows time for mail delivery and processing in the appeals office.

Those filing their appeal without representation should file their “Request for Reconsideration” on form SSA-561-U2.  You may find this form on the internet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-561.pdf .  However, claimants must understand that this is your only opportunity to retain a hearing before an ALJ.  Although it is permissible for a claimant to file his/her own paperwork, it is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney specializing in this field.  The advice of a professional is worth its weight in gold.  Since seventy-five percent of initial disability applications are denied, it is highly preferred that you contact a disability advocate or attorney immediately following your initial application.  This will ensure that your advocate or attorney has sufficient time to prepare an appeal.  Since the majority of attorneys collect fees only in the event that your appeal is successful, initial charges should be nominal-to-none.  Again, in the event that you have not contacted an attorney prior to receiving a decision on your initial application, do not wait until the last minute to seek the advice of a professional.  There is a considerable amount of work to be done in preparing a disability appeal, and waiting until day 50 to seek the advice of an attorney will only hinder your disability efforts.