A news article in the Wall Street Journal discusses how difficult it can be to get approved for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). As noted in the article, the injury or illness for which a claimant is seeking SSDI benefits must be so severe that it leaves the claimant unable to work in any job, not just the job in which the worker is currently employed. The disability must also be expected to last more than one year, or result in death, to be considered serious enough to qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
In addition to the disability requirements, a claimant must also have worked and paid taxes for a considerable number of years (this is dependent on the age of the claimant) prior to submitting an application for benefits. The money a worker pays in taxes goes towards this eligibility requirement, which is termed paying into the system.
Our disability attorneys note the main point of the article was to illustrate concerns that people who aren’t really disabled are freeloading off the system are simply wrong. While there are obviously some instances of SSDI fraud, the vast majority of benefit recipients are not only genuinely disabled, but also fought a very hard uphill battle to get approved for benefits in the first place.
These misconceptions are unfortunately becoming more prevalent, as concerns rise that the SSA will run out of money for the SSDI program in the next two years unless a budget is approved.
The reason it is so difficult to obtain approval for benefits is that the SSA apparently decided long ago that the best way to run the program is to routinely deny nearly every claimant who submits an application for benefits.
However, due to the numerous court decisions that give people due process rights, including the opportunity to be heard, the SSA has established a complex appeals process. Claimants have the ability to appeal denial of their SSDI applications both in writing, and, if that is also denied, in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by the SSA to handle adjudication proceedings.
Procedures in place are basically to facilitate denial of unrepresented persons at these hearings. Unfortunately, many claimants still go to the hearings without an attorney.
The best thing a claimant can do to help insure they receive benefits is to consult an attorney who regularly handles SSDI cases. The chances of getting a disability benefits award are substantially higher when claimant has an attorney on his or her side who truly understands the system, knows the tactics of the SSA, and can fight for claimant rights.
The chances of success also increase the sooner an SSDI lawyer is consulted, because it is much easier for the attorney to handle the matter from the beginning, rather than going back and trying to change things that have already happened.
If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Social Security’s Strict Disability Rules, September 20, 2014, Wall Street Journal
More Blog Entries:
Garrison v. Colvin – ALJ Rejection of SSDI Claim Must be Rooted in Facts, September 18, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog