It is more than disappointing when you are eligible for Social Security benefits but the government claims you are not. Denials happen for various reasons, with a common one being making mistakes on the application.
A denial of the financial assistance you need can make you feel hopeless and anxious. However, it is not the end of your case; it just means you will have to take further action to secure benefits.
The first step is to appeal the denial to get a hearing. If you secure a hearing, submit further evidence to support your case. At the hearing, you may have witnesses testify about your disability. You will also have to answer questions. Reviewing the reasons for the claim denial helps you prepare properly so you can avoid another rejection.
You have 65 days from the date of the denial notice to appeal. However, even after that time has passed, you may still be able to take action by asking to reopen the claim or filing a new one. Alternatively, you may be able to receive an extension if you can prove the letter took longer than five days to arrive or that you had a good reason why you did not appeal within the time frame.
If you receive another denial of benefits or of a hearing, you have the same window of time to appeal to the Appeals Council. If the decision is still negative, your last resort is to take your case to a federal district court.
The process of obtaining Social Security benefits can be long. In the meantime, continue receiving medical care. Go to your doctor appointments regularly, and follow your treatment plan. If you stop, the court may interpret it as meaning you have recovered or were not seriously disabled in the first place. Avoid doing anything that would hurt your case during this important time.