Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Florida?
If you reside in Florida you may have a more difficult time qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits. Florida, like many southern states, tends to approve fewer disability applicants for disability benefits at every level of the Social Security Disability process.
About 26.8 percent of the people who file for disability will qualify for benefits with their initial disability claim compared to a national average of 31.0 percent.
If your initial disability claim is denied, you can appeal the decision with a reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeals across the nation do not have a high approval rate; however in Florida the reconsideration appeal approval rate is only 8.9 percent.
If your reconsideration appeal is denied, your chances of qualifying for disability benefits improve significantly in Florida at the next level.
You can appeal your reconsideration appeal denial by filing a request for a disability hearing. This level of the disability process has a higher approval rate than all other levels because the decision is made by a judge who has more flexibility to make their medical disability determination than the disability examiners who make the initial disability and reconsideration appeal determinations.
Disability examiners' medical disability determinations are reviewed by case consultants, unit managers, and unit medical professionals, naturally these additional reviews can result in more disability denials.
By contrast, Social Security Disability judges make their disability determination with no oversight other than the opinions offered by vocational or medical experts (chosen by the judge). The administrative law judge is a single decision maker. The national approval rate for disability hearings is about sixty percent, while Florida's average hearing approval rate is about fifty-seven percent.
If you apply for disability benefits in Florida, you have a good chance of qualifying for disability benefits provided you appeal any disability denial.
If you forgo the Social Security Disability appeal process in favor of filing new disability claims, you may still qualify for disability benefits at some point in the future but it will most likely take a much longer time for you to qualify for disability than disability applicants who use the appeal process.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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