Reasons to Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney to Handle Your Claim
People often think of Social Security as a government program designed to provide retirement benefits to seniors, but there are many more people who are striving to receive disability benefits because they simply cannot work. If you have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and are being faced with filing an appeal, you are not alone.
The Disability Appeal Backlog
There is a huge backlog of these appeals in Washington D.C., just waiting to clear all the red tape involved in granting or denying disability benefits. How huge? Current estimates are over 900,000. The cases in this office have already been denied twice, and this third step means that the applicant will plead their case directly to a Social Security judge.
Social Security judges are required to review an applicant’s medical records themselves, oftentimes spending hours pouring over all the ailments involved in a single case – reading poor handwriting from doctors, and without the help of a paralegal to lighten the load. When these judges rule on a case or appeal, they are making a decision on whether or not the person can hold a job, any job.
The work is slow, and made even slower by an archaic book of occupations that still includes such things as telegram messenger and a horse-and-wagon driver. The internet is not mentioned at all.
Why the Backlog of SSD Appeals?
When Gerald Ford was president, these judges fell behind and the still haven’t caught up. The system is sometimes too big to fix, as reform measures are deemed to expensive or simply so too difficult to implement due to the bureaucracy involved. The appeals office has become an example of what happens when a government program cannot keep pace with it’s good intentions.
Waiting For Disability Benefits Can Be Difficult
The typical Social Security Disability appeal takes 422 days to be finalized. That is over a year of waiting without any income. The stresses involved with having no income, being unable to work, and seeing bills pile up, can be daunting.
The Social Security Disability Process – Step One
The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is supposed to function this way: a person submits an application for disability benefits, which includes giving the SSD office access to their medical records. State officials review the application and may request a medical exam by an independent physician to verify the medical ailments claimed in the application. These officials decide the fate of the applicant’s disability status. Current statistics show that only 32 percent of these cases are approved, and the typical wait time for an approval is 109 days.
The Social Security Disability Process – Step Two
If the disability claim is one of the 68% that are denied, the person can file an appeal. Another state official reviews the case to see if the first official ruled incorrectly. Roughly 11 percent of these applications are approved at this step. In 10 states, applicants skip this step and go straight to the third step.
The Social Security Disability Process – Step Three
The final step is another appeal, and a demand to see a Social Security judge in person…eventually. These judges are appointed for life as the government’s representative of due process. Critics argue that these judges are not trained in medicine at all, they are simply attorneys thrust into the role they serve.
Social Security Disability Help is Available
As you can see, the Social Security disability process is complicated and can quickly become overwhelming. If your claim has been denied, do not be discouraged, do not give up. The Social Security Disability attorneys at Handler Henning & Rosenberg have been helping injured people in Pennsylvania get the justice they deserve since 1922. Put our SSD legal experience to work for you so that you can focus on healing from your injuries. We have offices throughout Pennsylvania, and we offer a free consultation about your legal rights to get started right away.