A Look at the Workings of the SSDI Appeals Process

When you file a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, there is a good chance your application will be denied. The reason for this is because most applications are rejected after being filed, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you have earned enough quarterly credits or whether or not you are actually disabled. It is basically an unofficial policy to reduce the number of claims they have to pay to save money.

stopwatchA recent article from The Sequitur looks at how the appeals process works and what happens after your application is denied. The first thing you will do is file for what is known as reconsideration.  This is where you submit a request for a review of the denial.  It is done internally at the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and is done by a coworker of the SSA worker who initially denied your application.  While it is technically possible there will a ruling in the claimant’s favor at this stage in the game, it is not very likely, and further review will probably be needed.

It should be noted that this system is set up to take advantage of claimants, and the best thing you can do to prevent this is to have an experienced Boston disability attorney on your side as early in the process as possible to help get you the benefits award to which you are rightfully entitled.  If it has taken a long time to get approved for benefits, you may also be entitled to retroactive benefits dating back to the time of the onset of disability, and this can be paid in a one time lump sum, or it can be paid over time, in addition to your monthly benefits check in the amount of approximately $1,020 per month, depending the facts of your actual situation.

If the reconsideration effort did not go as you would have hoped, your attorney can assist you in requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge.  While you typically have 60 days to request a hearing as a matter of right, it may take far more than a year to actually get a hearing before an ALJ.  The current national wait time for an ALJ hearing is about 525 days, which is not only ridiculous, but much higher than the one-year wait it was just a few years a go.  This is evidence of a disturbing trend, as more and more Americans across the nation are applying for disability and the lowest number of employees in recent years is employed by SSA.

When you get a hearing before an ALJ your attorney can present evidence and can cross examine the government’s witnesses.  One of the government’s witnesses will likely be a person hired by SSA – a so-called vocational expert (VE).  A VE is paid by SSA to use an outdated Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) that contains odd-sounding job titles, as it was written in the 1970s.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Steps You Have to Take to Get a Social Security Disability Hearing, May 29, 2016, The Sequitir, By News Desk

More Blog Entries:

Allensworth v. Colvin: SSDI Hearings and Appeals, April 1, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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