Awarded Social Security Disability Benefits - errors in decisions
I came across a webpage that I found particularly interesting. The abstract, or summary, had this to say about social security disability and SSI cases that have been approved and denied: one fifth of all individuals who were awarded disability benefits were awarded in error, while sixty percent of all individuals who were denied disability benefits were, in fact, disabled and should have been awarded disability benefits.
If true, this isn't really surprising for anyone who's ever been affiliated with the social security disability system. As an examiner, it became very clear to me how the system is tilted in such a way that claimants with solid cases can nonetheless be denied at the initial claim and reconsideration levels. Fortunately, in many instances, those same individuals are later approved at disability hearings. Unfortunately, however, it can take 1-2 years to get a hearing date even after a significant amount of time has been invested in pursuing a claim through the first two steps (reconsideration and application). And, I have to admit, there have been times when I've been surprised that a particular case was approved, especially when compared to certain other cases that were not.
Is the social security disability and SSI disability system objective and fair? On the surface, one might conclude that it is. But as a former examiner, I knew full well that the final disposition of a case often depended on which unit (at the state disability processing agency, known usually as either the bureau of disability determination, or disability determination services, depending on the state you live in) it was sent to, as well as which examiner and unit supervisor would be reviewing the claim. Likewise, of course, whether a disability claim is approved or not often depends on which administrative law judge is assigned to hear the case.
Errors in the disability award process
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