What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
If Social Security Turns Down My Case Can I apply For Disability A Second Time?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The simple answer to this question is yes. An individual can apply for disability as many times as they wish to apply. However, is it best to reapply for disability if your initial disability claim is denied?
No, statistically, it is not to an individualís advantage to file a new claim if their initial disability claim is denied. It is far more advantageous for an individual to file an appeal of the denial of their disability case than to file another new disability claim. Only thirty five percent of initial disability claims result in an approval of disability benefits.
On the other hand, roughly two thirds of all disability cases are approved for disability benefits at the administrative law judge hearing, which represents the second appeal in the SSA system.
So how does an individual get to an administrative law judge hearing? If an individualís initial disability claim is denied, they have a sixty-five day appeal period to file their first appeal, a request for reconsideration appeal. The reconsideration appeal is sent to the same state disability agency (DDS, which stands for disability determination services) for a medical decision.
And, as you might guess, there are very few approvals at this level of the disability process. The reason for this is simple. Reconsideration appeals are sent to the same agency for a decision and the process is exactly the same as what happened on the initial claim (the disability application). The only difference is that another disability examiner makes the medical decision.
Frankly, not many initial decisions are overturned at the reconsideration level because all disability examiners are bound by the same medical and vocational disability guidelines and there is very little flexibility in the decison-making process.
National statistics indicate only about ten to fifteen percent of all reconsiderations are disability approvals. For most individuals the request for reconsideration is just a stepping-stone to an administrative law judge hearing, which is the second appeal that a claimant may have.
In the end, individuals who file an appeal of their initial disability claim through to the level of an administrative law judge hearing are far more likely to win their disability benefits than those who file new disability claims following the denial of a prior claim. Why is this? The fact that administrative law judges have far more flexibility in making their disability decisions than state disability agency examiners is part of the answer.
However, most claimants who go to hearings before federal judges have representation in the form of a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative.
When representation is at hand, the case is generally made stronger as a result of case preparation that involves the claimant's representative obtaining updated medical records, statements from the claimant's treating physician, or physicians, as well as a review of the social security file, including the pior decisions that were made by disability examiners at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels.
By understanding why the case was previously denied at both levels, the representative can develop a greater understanding of what is needed to better substantiate the case in terms of evidence and a rationale for approval (to be presented to the judge).
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials