Saturday, October 13, 2007



Social Security Disability Denied in California

An article appearing in the internet version of The LA Times discussed filing for disability benefits in California. According to the writer, 64 percent of disability claims filed with the social security administration in California are denied.

It's after that point, however, that I'm not sure how to view the soundness of this particular article. For example, the writer refers to social security disability as the social security administration's long term disability plan.

However, SSD is completely different from LTD plans and even comparing them in the same sentence is misleading. How are they different? Well, concepts like past work, other work, substantial gainful activity, closed periods, and a transparent appeal system make them distincly different from each other.

However, the article did toss out a few interesting statistics. The first is that three out of ten workers are likely to become at some point, as a result of an injury or illness, unable to work for a period of at least three months. The second is that one out of seven workers can expect at some point in their lives and work career to become disabled for five years or longer.

And the third statistic is that the percentage of the adult population that is applying for disability benefits has doubled since the eighties. Regarding this statistic, however, writers should really be mindful of the fact that the U.S. population is graying. This, of course, will have the effect of pushing up both the number of disability claims that that are filed, as well as the percentage of the population that is filing for social security disability.

Interestingly enough, the California residents who were interviewed for the article corroborated in their statements what seems to be true for much of the country at large:

1. Social Security Disability Claims in California can take up to three years.

2. Claims in California that are denied at the intial claim and reconsideration levels may eventually be won at the hearing level.

Finally, the article mentions the fact that social security disability income is not wage replacement income and should not be relied upon as such. It is simply a benefit whose amount is determined by a worker's contributions (via payroll deduction or self-employment taxes). And, unfortunately, even when a disabled worker receives a relatively high benefit amount (in comparison to most disability benefit recipients), that amount is still difficult to live on.


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