Sunday, September 27, 2009

Social Security Disability Claims in Michigan

If you live in Michigan and are filing for disability, or have considered doing so, the following information may interest you. The info is from an editorial that was written in response to an article concerning SSD and SSI cases in Michigan. Here are some things that caught my eye.

1. According to the editorial, pending disability claims in the state of michigan now number nearly 38,000. This number represents an increase of forty-seven percent from last year. According to the article, the increase in pending claims nationwide has been about thirty-four percent.

Is this information from the editorial accurate? Hard to tell, really. An article by pegged the national increase in pending claims for disability to be between 15 and 25 percent. Why the range? Well, the year isn't over yet for one thing. And perhaps it has something to do with semantics and how you define terms, which is why I tend to be skeptical with regard to newspaper articles on this topic since 99 percent of journalists have no real inkling about the social security disability system. For me, I prefer to focus on the fact that in the prior year, new applications for disability numbered roughly 2.5 million. This year, the social security administration is predicting as many as 3 millions claims for social security disability and SSI being filed.

2. The writer of the editorial stated the following:

A) If over fifty percent of all disability appeals that are filed result in what is effectively a reversal of the denial that was issued on the initial claim, then the disability determination process must be flawed.

B) The rate of increase in pending disability claims may be higher in Michigan than in the rest of the nation because of the auto industry.

I wouldn't be surprised if B is true. Regarding A, Bingo! How could anyone not come to that conclusion?

A few days ago, I wrote a post about a hypothetical scenario in which 100 claimants applied for disability benefits. In that example, if you assumed that the individuals who were denied later filed timely appeals (leading up to a disability hearing before an administrative law judge), you found that between 67 and 78 of the original group of 100 applicants eventually got approved for benefits---provided, of course, that they did not give and filed their available appeals in a timely manner.

Clearly, there is a huge disconnect between what happens at the state disability processing agencies (where disability examiners work on claims) and what happens at the disability hearing level. And the disconnect is huge.

Why doesn't anyone in the federal government address this? Surely, it's quite obvious and logical that this is an area that needs attention. My own notions include the idea of

A) federalizing the DDS agencies in the nation and bringing them under federal control (an immediate advantage that comes to mind is that you can't furlough disability examiners, slowing down disability cases, if they are no longer state employers but, rather, federal workers), and

B) examining the effect of external quality control systems (I've talked for years about the effect that DQB, or disability quality branch, has on case processing at the disability examiner level).

No one in the federal government, meaning the social security administration, will address this, of course, because, in my opinion, they're unaware of how things really work down at the nuts and bolts level of disability determination. This was quite apparent when the former social security commissioner launched some fairly ridiculous "improvement initiatives".

Anyway, that's my soapbox for today. Btw, there is a law firm in Los Angeles that has been regularly copying my posts. Not word for word, but casually rewriting them. They've actually been doing this for years. Originally, they would rewrite the pages from my website,, and then submit the pages as articles for distribution on the net. Very clearly, this was, and is, infringement of my federal copyright. Not a good practice for a licensed attorney to engage in. Pretty slimy, lowlife kind of stuff. And copyright law is fairly clear: the infringer need not be the attorney himself, it can be the party who infringed on the attorney's behalf, meaning you can't claim to be free of guilt if you didn't personally write the infringing material...but had someone else do it for you. I wonder if they will rewrite this post. If they do, I will post a nofollow link to their "version" of my post and I will place it after this paragraph so you can compare the two. In fact, I may start doing this with every single instance in which they "imitate". They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Why don't I feel flattered then? I guess because, as Americans, we just don't like cheaters, including people who cheat on tests, people who steal term papers, and people who flagrantly and casually rewrite our words, claiming them as their own.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

When should you file for Disability Benefits
SSI Benefits - How to apply for SSI Disability
Can you afford a lawyer for a social security disability claim?
Regarding a Social Security Disability Evaluation
Disability Lawyers and Finding YOUR Disability Lawyer
Request for a disability hearing
Disability application


Blogger lovey said...

Hi--yes it is true that Michigan is taking much longer to process claims than other states. Some people I know who are filing for SSDI, have had their claims sent to other states for processing. It's the economy. We are in a depression here, not a recession. My little town in Michigan had 9 manufacturing plants 5 years ago. We are down to one currently, and they have laid off 150 of 400 workers. There is nowhere for people to go if they own their house. So some people are trying to get on disability in hopes of a stable income, that probably shouldn't be applying. The other factor is that people who were working with disabilities and didn't need disability, now have been laid off and need to file for disability.

It's almost funny that the lawyers are stealing your information (but I understand your feelings). I understand the system much more than the lawyers and legislators do in regards to such issues as Medicaid. Some of the comments from legislators sound like they are reading from my letters and emails.. Isn't it wonderful to be more intelligent and informed than them??

10:02 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Lovey, thanks for the comments, particularly this one: "The other factor is that people who were working with disabilities and didn't need disability, now have been laid off and need to file for disability."

That, I think, is something we're going to see more and more in our changing economy.

As for the "lawyers who are stealing", this is not a case of someone simply getting an idea or two from my blog posts, but, rather, someone systematically rewriting everything that I write, point by point. I can't help but think that this is particularly sad. When I was in graduate school, it never would have entered my mind to create mirrored derivative content from someone else's writing. And for someone with a juris doctor to do it seems particularly sad to me. It indicates that they are especially lazy or that, most likely, they graduated at the very bottom of a lower tier law school. Probably passed the bar on the fifth attempt and honestly shouldn't be in the business of representing claimants. Wouldn't be surprised if they regularly lose paperwork, miss appeal deadlines, fail to show up for hearings, and don't even bother to get medical source statements from treating physicians. Personally, I would not want to receive services from someone who was not intelligent enough to write his own blog posts, and was so lacking in ethics that he found it acceptable to steal what someone else had taken the time to write. But that's just me: I expect decent behavior on the part of others.

6:44 PM  
Blogger lovey said...

It is sad, I agree. It is probably a lousy lawyer--I do feel sorry for those who go to him.

I have a similar situation, but not really stealing my work. A so called "professional" of a disability resource center has smeared my name for a year. I was a board member, and the executive director fabricated board minutes and signed my name to them. I reported this to the funding state agency. It all blew up into the local news this week, and my professional name was smeared some more. Luckily, some of the comments to the news article directed at me were removed by the editor. This information on one nasty comment could only be known by the executive director or the board president. I have been thinking tonight that I have a HIPPA case at least, as I also occasionally received services from this agency. The comment had to do with my disabilities.

Where are the morals anymore with these so called professionals?? Just because they have a public, professional title, doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a moral compass. At least I can sleep at night with my actions. I really don't understand how people can do this to others. Especially educated people. I, too, never imagined this situation in graduate school! I never imagined that I would have to defend my professional name for over a year, when I did nothing wrong!!! I do understand well your feelings on all of this.

7:02 PM  

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