There is no question that applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a long a daunting process. The first thing a claimant must do is to file an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This application should be accompanied by supporting medical documentation to show that claimant is actually disabled.
Once the application is submitted, unfortunately, SSA will probably deny it. In fact, most applications are rejected on their first pass, and it has little to do with whether the claimant is actually disabled. This is basically an unwritten rule that the applications are rejected a lot of the time. The reason for this is because it is a way to save money.
As our Boston Social Security disability attorneys have seen in far too many cases, the agency is hoping that some of the people who are initially denied will not apply again. Even if they do apply for reconsideration, that will delay the payment of benefits at the very least, and this will save the SSA money.
The application for reconsideration will probably be denied as well. This is what happens in the vast majority of cases to where it is very rare for an application to be approved at this stage in the process. Part of the reason is that it is a peer review process. This means that another worker at the same pay grade as the SSA employee who denied the application to begin with. After this, the claimant can apply for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is the part of the process where the claimant will have an opportunity to testify and present the opinions and testimony of any experts that the plaintiff wishes to call. It is also the time in the process where the SSA can call witnesses such as doctors or more commonly a vocational expert (VE).
This VE is an employee of SSA and is familiar with their guidelines and can determine the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) of a claimant with the same or similar ailments of the claimant in the actual case. This is done though the use of hypotheticals that ALJ will ask of the VE. As one might expect, this VE, who is an employee of SSA, often makes a finding that claimant can perform a job in the local or even the national economy, and this can work.
Despite all of these challenges, the SSA, through a recent news feature from the Cedar Spring Post, tells prospective claimants what they can do to make the process go more smoothly. The steps that will help a claimant is to gather information about when the disability started (on set of disability), the last date the claimant worked, names and address and date of visits to doctors to treat the disabling condition, and other information which the claimant believes may be relevant.
If you are applying for SSI benefits for yourself or, more likely, your child, you will also have to gather information about household income and living expenses, so SSA can determine if the claimant falls within the income guidelines.
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.
Tips from Social Security when applying for disability, August 25, 2016, By Vonda VanTil, Cedar Spring Post
More Blog Entries:
Stacy v. Colvin: SSDI Appeals, June 25, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog