Being denied Social Security benefits may be stressful, especially if you were counting on that income to help support you and your family. Even applicants who have valid claims may sometimes be denied benefits because of small errors made during the initial claims process. However, you may have the right to appeal the denial in Los Angeles, California, and you do not have have to tackle the process alone.
A Los Angeles mental disorder lawyer may be able to help you with your denied claim. They may ensure you have the necessary documentation to prove your disability and that your claim documents the medical treatment you have received for your disorder.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm our team is committed to our clients on each case we take. For a free, no-obligation review of your disability claim denial, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444.
Types of Valid Mental Disorders
The Social Security Administration (SSA) arranges mental disorders into 11 different categories:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Depressive or bipolar disorder
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum or other psychotic disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Trauma-related disorders
- Eating disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
For each category, the SSA articulates what is necessary for satisfying the requirements for a valid claim.
Common Reasons Claims may be Denied
There are three common reasons why the SSA may deny a valid mental disability claim:
Lack of Evidence for a Specific Diagnosis
Every claimant may be responsible for providing the necessary medical evidence proving that they have an impairment and that they meet the requirements for how severe the mental disability is to qualify for benefits. Even if you have received regular treatment for your mental disability, if you are not able to provide the required evidence, your claim may be denied. Your claim should include proof of a specific diagnosis.
Lack of Treatment History
For some mental health disorders, such as neurocognitive disorders, you may be required to have a medically documented history. For a neurocognitive disorder specifically, you may be required to have two years of medical treatment documented to prove your disorder is “serious and persistent.” The SSA may want to see treatments you have tried to improve your mental health condition and may want to evaluate what the outcomes were for those treatments. If you have no documented treatment or have only received minimal treatment, the SSA may deny your claim.
You are Still Employable
The claimant is responsible for providing enough evidence proving the nature and severity of the disability, how long they have experienced that mental disorder, and that they are unable to do work-related mental and physical activities. Even if you unable to do the same type of work you did at your last job, you may still be capable of working at a different type of job. If the SSA determines that you are still capable of working, they may deny your claim.
A Los Angeles mental disorder lawyer may be able to evaluate the details of your situation and determine whether you have a valid claim. They may also determine the reason for your denial and take necessary steps to appeal the decision and help you pursue compensation you may be entitled to for your mental disorder. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
For a free legal consultation with a mental disorder lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Understanding the Appeals Process
If your Social Security benefits for a mental disorder were denied, you may have the right to appeal the decision. That request must be made in writing and received by the SSA within 60 days of the time you received your denial letter. There are generally four levels of appeal:
This is the first stage in the appeals process in which someone who did not take part in the initial review of your case reviews it again. They may examine the evidence you originally provided when you submitted the claim and also review any new evidence you may provide. Based on all of the evidence that the reviewer has available, they may make a new decision in your case.
If your claim was denied during reconsideration and you do not agree with that decision, you have the option to appeal again and ask for a hearing. The administrative law judge who presides over the hearing should have had no part in the original review of your claim or in the reconsideration process. During the hearing, the judge may ask you questions about your mental disorder and treatment. You may also have the option to bring expert witnesses who can offer additional insight. You or a representative, such as a mental disorder lawyer, may have the opportunity to question the witnesses.
Review by Appeals Council
If the hearing judge denied your claim and you disagree with that decision, you have the option to ask for a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council believes that the administrative judge ruled correctly, they may still deny the appeal. However they may also make a decision themselves or send it back to an administrative judge for further review.
Federal Court Review
If the Appeals Council denied your claim or decided not to review it, you may have the option to file a lawsuit in a federal district court. You will receive a letter after the denial by the Appeals Council explaining how you may ask the federal court to review your case.
Los Angeles Mental Disorder Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
How the Team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be Able to Help
The appeals process may be long and complex. However, by working with a lawyer who understands the SSA’s requirements, you may be better equipped with the proper documentation for a first appeal. A Los Angeles mental disorder lawyer may be able to help you ensure that documentation of your treatment plan and diagnosis is in order and available for the SSA reviewer. This may help you avoid unnecessary delays in the process.
For a free, no-risk case review and to find out if you have a valid Social Security disability benefits claim, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444. Our team works on a contingency fee basis.