Saturday, March 29, 2008

Social Security Disability SSI West Virginia

Disability claims that are filed with the social security administration (in either the social security disability or SSI disability program) are more often denied than approved. Nationally, the rate of denial at the first and most basic level (where a disability application is filed with a local social security office) is approximately 70 percent.

Denial rates do differ, though, between various states and, in some states, the rate of denial is as low as 50 percent (arguably, the "toss of a coin" does not amount to great odds). However, the number of claims that are denied in West Virginia at the application level are, unfortunately, right at the national average. In a recent year, 69.9 percent of all SSD and SSI disability applications that were filed in West Virginia were turned down.

And, unfortunately, the bad news doesn't end there. What should a claimant do when their claim for disability has been denied? Well, in most cases, they shouldn't file a brand new application, but, instead, should file an appeal. The first appeal in the social security system is the request for reconsideration. However, in West Virginia, 88.9 percent of all reconsideration appeals are also denied.

In you file for disability in West Virginia and get denied at both the application and reconsideration levels, should you consider giving up on your case? Not at all. The reality is that, in most states, a claimant will be likely to be denied at these two first levels and will need to request a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. At such a hearing, a claimant and his disability lawyer may present a rationale for an approval of benefits based on the claimant's medical record. Claimants who appeal to the hearing level and are represented typically have a better than 60 percent chance of winning their case, despite the fact that they have already been denied at the two prior levels in the system.

The only downside to requesting a disability hearing, of course, is that A) getting a hearing date can take many months and B) a claimant cannot request a hearing until they have already been denied at the disability application and disability reconsideration levels.

What this really means, though, is that a claimant who is thinking that they might need to file for disability should probably do so as soon as possible. It also means that if a claim gets denied, a claimant should probably look for representation because the likelihood is that they will have to appear at a hearing in order to win disability benefits.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog