How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Disability applications can be hard and here's why

A statement was recently made on a health forum: "I really tried to be thorough on my disability application and it just seems unfair that they have to make the process so hard".

The poster didn't elaborate so it was difficult to know exactly what they meant by the process being so hard. However, it wouldn't be hard to make a guess, or through a handful of guesses arrive at their chief complaint.

So, what is so hard about filing for disability? Here's a short list I've compiled.

1. The process takes a long time. A long time at the disability application level, a long time at the request for reconsideration level, and a long time at the hearing level. None of which makes anything easier for an individual (or their family) who has physical or mental problems and cannot work at a level that earns the equivalent of substantial gainful activity.

2. The great majority of claims are denied at the application level. Yes, this happens despite the fact that more than half of all claimants who appeal all the way to a disability hearing get approved. If SSA is going to approve 50 percent of the claimants they initially denied for benefits in the first place, then why make them go through the ordeal at all. Some would argue that this is a cost cutting mechanism. I cannot tell you how many individuals I have personally encountered over the years who informed me that that they had previously filed for disability, got denied, and then chose to give up on their claim (big mistake--you should always always appeal). Luckily, these individuals decided to file again at some point. But...what about all the people who give up and never try again.

The federal government saves a lot of money on these individuals.

3. You can never seem to get answers to basic questions about how the Social Security Disability system works. This is actually this site because I realized that claimants often had very basic questions that they weren't getting answers to. Why is it so hard to get answers? Here's my theory. Claimants often pose their questions to the individuals who take their disability claims. These indivduals are CRs, or claims reps. They work at social security field offices and they process disability claims. However, and this is an important distinction, they don't actually make the medical decision on an SSD or SSI case. In fact, they typically know almost NOTHING about how the disability process works.

Why? Because it's not their job to know. The job of rendering a decision on a disability case is the job of a disability examiner (which I used to be). However, disability examiners are not front-line contact personnel. In fact, if you file a claim you may never speak to your examiner (though very often you will since they usually need to get information about your medical sources, work history, or activities of daily living).

Why is filing for disability so hard? These are just a few reasons. There are a lot more, and perhaps those will be the subject of a later post.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Permanent disability benefits
Receiving SSI Disability and having Marital Income
Older Medical Records for a Disability Claim
Social Security Disability, Cobra, and Medicare Eligibility
Appealing a denial of Social Security Disability or SSI
How long does your condition have to last to qualify for disability?
What SSA means by disabled and disability
Eligible for disability back pay benefits
How long does SSDI and SSI disability take to get?
How to file for disability in Indiana
How to file for disability in Alabama
SSD, SSDI, SSI impairments list
Filing for disability with psoriatic arthritis
Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
Personality Disorder and Filing for Disability

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to check the status of my Social Security Disability claim
To qualify for disability, what to prove
Preparation to win a disability hearing
Social Security Disability lawyers FAQ
How Much Income Can you Earn If you draw Social Security Disability?
What does Social Security Disability SSI pay, how much?
Social Security Disability Maximum back pay
Social Security Disability Claims and Medical Exams
What is qualifying for disability benefits based on?
Partial Social Security Disability SSI benefits
Filing for disability and financial help
Getting approved after a Social Security Disability Psychological exam
How long does it take to receive disability benefits after you are approved?
Does Social Security Disability Come With Medicaid Benefits?
Applying for Disability or SSI - How long does it take
Can you work if you get Social Security Disability?
Am I eligible to receive disability benefits?
What medical disabilities, conditions qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to get disability for degenerative disc disease
What mental problems qualify for disability?
Conditions that get approved for disability

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.