Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Social Security Disability and Giving Up on an SSD or SSI Claim

I was not overly impressed with the recent two-part series that CBS news ran on the state of the social security disability and SSI disability system. However, I would like to comment on something that was mentioned in the broadcast, which is the statement that two-thirds of all individuals filing for disability (according to CBS, a million claimants) simply give up after being denied for the first time.

I don't dispute that this happens. In fact, it sticks in my mind much in the same way that another statistic does, that one-third of the claimants who go to a social security hearing for disability choose to do so without the benefit of representation.

I would simply like to state, for anyone reading this post, if you have been denied for disability, do not give up on your claim. The simple fact of the matter is that, nationwide, about 70 percent of all claims are denied, and about about 85 percent of all claims are denied again at the first appeal level (the request for reconsideration).

But---of those who persist and push forward in the process, requesting a disability hearing and then having a hearing, at least half will be approved (and, for those who have a disability attorney or non-attorney representative, about 60 percent will be approved for disability).

In other words, if you continue forward by filing appeals, you stand a very good chance of winning disability benefits. But if you choose to stop, you give up that chance.

Frankly, I think a large percentage of claimants who give up after being denied the first time subsequently file new disability applications at later points. However, by doing this, these individuals make their situations worse. How?

A) They have to start all over again.

B) They lose the benefit of utilizing the appeal process.

C) They lose valuable time, usually months, thus imperiling their financial situation even more.

The thing to keep in mind is this. If you get denied, don't get discouraged. Simply file an appeal and if this gets denied, file the next appeal and get your case heard by a judge.

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