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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

The timeline for your SSDI appeal

Most people have heard the horrors of the social security disability application process, from denials to confusing applications to years of waiting, the list of complaints goes on and on. Included in this difficult process is the fact that many claims get denied the first time around and must then go through the appeals process. So, for many people the question is: what does the appeals process look like and how long is it going to take?

For starters, after you file your initial claim, the Social Security Administration will thoroughly review that claim and will then send you a letter with their decision. If they have denied your claim and you disagree with that decision then you may file an appeal. You must file your request for an appeal in writing within 60 days of receiving the SSA decision letter. The fastest way to file your appeal is online through the SSA website, where you will be able to upload supporting documents with your appeal as well.

What medical conditions qualify for Social Security disability?

One important question disabled individuals might have is what medical conditions qualify for Social Security disability benefits. There are different methods to qualify for SSD benefits and it is important to understand the different processes. Qualifying for SSD benefits can be essential for the daily needs of many disabled individuals, which is why it is important to understand how to apply for benefits.

The Social Security Administration keeps a "Listing of Medical Impairments" that generally qualify for SSD benefits. If the disabled individual suffers from a disabling medical condition that is not on the list, they can still file an SSD claim under the Social Security Administration's eligibility guidelines. Medical conditions that generally qualify for SSD benefits are broken down into categories.

Social Security receives money for disability backlog

There is a significant backlog for Social Security claims processing, which, in turn, leads to a long wait time for badly-needed benefits. The backlog of disability claims stretches past 1 million disabled individuals waiting for benefits. On average, disabled individuals wait 600 days to learn if they will receive disability benefits they have applied for, including health insurance and monthly payments.

To help address this issue, the budget spending bill that was recently passed included a funding increase for the Social Security Administration. The spending bill increased the Social Security Administration's budget by $480 million, bringing its total administrative budget to greater than $12 billion. Around $100 million of the budget increase for the agency is designated to address the disability claims backlog. The Social Security Administration's budget has remained the same since 2010.

Appeals resources for a denied Social Security disability claim

When a claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, that is not the end of the story. In fact, most claims are initially denied, which is why it is crucial to be familiar with the SSD appeals process.

In general, there are several levels of appeals if a claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied. Not all levels of appeal may be available in every state so it is important to be familiar with the options for appealing a denied SSD claim in the disabled individual's state. The first level is a request for reconsideration during which a new reviewer, other than the one that initially reviewed the claim for benefits, reviews the claim.

Exposing the multitude of problems at the SSA

It's no secret that Social Security funding is a problem, and reports have projected that the administration will run out of adequate funds by the year 2034. But, funding is not the only problem facing the administration. There are a myriad of ways in which Social Security is failing to meet the needs of the elderly and disabled populations that it is intended to serve.

A recent article published on PBS News Hour examined various reports, including the watchdog report issued by the SSA Office of the Inspector General, that delve into the Social Security problems that go beyond funding. These reports looked at the most basic issues with Social Security, including not being able to reach a representative by phone, much less a representative who was actually able to help and answer questions.

Why was my SSD claim for a mental condition denied?

Filing an SSD claim is hard enough. The application, the process, the waiting, the frequent denials and the subsequent appeals process - it's all lengthy and frustrating. So many claims get denied the first time around prolonging this painful process. Perhaps the most difficult type of claim to file is one based on a mental health condition. So why is it that SSD claims for mental conditions are so often denied?

Like any other type of SSD claim, filing a claim for mental illness requires that you make a showing that your mental condition prevents you from securing gainful employment for at least one year. Making this preliminary showing can be difficult, particularly in cases of a mental health condition. There are several common reasons for the SSA to deny these types of claims.

Real people, just like you, waiting on SSD benefits

Everyone has heard the stories of what a nightmare it is to apply and wait for SSD benefits. It's no secret that the process is lengthy and daunting, with many waiting months and even years to get a decision. Many Americans with legitimate claims are being denied benefits, and many continue to await appeals decisions. If you are undertaking this difficulty, know that you are not alone.

A recent news story out of Atlanta details the struggles of many Americans going through the SSD claims process. The study found that over one million people are currently awaiting appeals, and, while waiting, many are losing their retirement savings, their homes and even ending up homeless. Although studies show that more than half of the people who appeal win, the cost of waiting is very high. Unfortunately, the problem appears to be getting worse and not better.

Anxiety as a basis for Social Security disability benefits claim

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. A Missouri resident may feel a wave of nerves before they have to give a speech or may feel their heart race in anticipation of bad news. A bad day may spark feelings of unease in a person who likes to have control of their life, and an unexpected event may set a person's nerves on edge. However, these forms of anxiousness are transient and often do not last; when a person suffers from severe and persistent anxiety that prevents them from holding down a job, they may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

In order to qualify for disability benefits based on anxiety, a person must be able to demonstrate that their condition rises to the level of a disability. For anxiety, that means suffering from a diagnosed anxiety disorder, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The individual must also suffer a requisite level of limitation in their ability to interact, manage their own affairs or concentrate or remember information.

What if my disability benefits are being reviewed?

Missourians who have a condition, illness or disability that warrants Social Security disability benefits should be cognizant of the reality that the Social Security Administration will, intermittently, review the disability to determine if the person still qualifies for benefits. Receiving the letter informing you of the disability review might be frightening, but it is not necessarily something to be overly concerned about. Understanding how this process works is essential, especially the reasons why the SSA might stop disability benefits.

The person's medical condition will be assessed with information from medical professionals and the medical records. There might be a need for more information. If that is the case, the person will be sent for a special examination for which the SSA will pay. The SSA will judge the current condition vs. what the previous medical review said. If other health problems have come up, that will be considered. If the medical condition has improved, the SSA will decide if it has improved enough so the person can go back to work and the benefits should stop. It is also important to consider the kind of work the person can do.

What to do if your SSD claim is denied

When you're applying for SSD benefits of course you want the process to be as quick and painless as possible, and you hope that you're application is approved at the initial stage. However, it is quite common that the vast majority of applications for SSD benefits are denied the first time. So, what do you do if your SSD application is denied?

There are various reasons that the Social Security Administration denies claims. Some of the most common reasons that claims are denied include, the disability isn't considered to be severe enough or isn't expected to last for 12 months, the SSA finds that the claimant can still perform his or her usual work, insufficient medical evidence was provided with the application, claimant did not cooperate with medical treatment, claimant returned to gainful employment, or the disability was the result of alcohol or drug dependence.

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