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 — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
When do you see a judge for a social security disability or SSI claim?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The ALJ disability hearing (a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge) typically presents the best opportunity for a claimant to win a case for SSI or SSD disability benefits. There are multiple reasons for this, of course.
1. Administrative law judges are independent of the hierarchical managemenent structure of the social security administration and of disability determination services, the agency where disability examiners work on claims at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels.
2. ALJs do not have to worry about making "too many approvals on cases" because their decisions are not monitored by external quality control (by contrast, the decisions of disability examiners are subject to automatic, random reviews by something known as DQB, the disability quality branch, the impact of which is to actively discourage examiners from making approvals on claims).
3. Disability judges actually give consideration and weight to the opinions of treating physicians. The social security administration considers a treating physician to be a doctor that has an established history of treatment with a patient and, therefore, can offer a credible opinion as to the individual's prognosis and limitations. Officially, social security is supposed to give credence to a treating physician's statement if it has been obtained to support a social security disability or SSI claim, but, historically, disability examiners have tended to disregard such statements.
At disability hearings, however, this is not the case and ALJs give treating physician statements, or medical source statements, enough consideration that cases can be won based on them.
4. At a disability hearing, a claimant, and their social security attorney can present a rationale for the approval of a claim, complete with supporting evidence and possibly some discussion as to why the case should have been approved at earlier steps versus being denied.
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Topics and Questions
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