Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Georgia?

If you are applying for Social Security Disability in Georgia you may have a little better chance of qualifying for disability than in other states. The Social Security disability process is a multilevel process that involves an initial disability claim and denial appeal levels.

The first, or ground level, of the disability process is the initial disability claim. If you are filing an initial disability claim in Georgia, you have a 29.0 percent chance of qualifying for disability benefits compared to a national average of about 31.7 percent.

If your initial disability claim is denied, you have to file a reconsideration appeal to keep your disability claim going.

Reconsideration appeals are most often just a necessary step to the next level of the Social Security Disability process (the disability hearing). Georgia's reconsideration appeal approval rate is about 11.08 compared to an average national approval rate of about 11 percent.

Even though the Georgia reconsideration approval rate is slightly higher than the national average, that still means 88 percent of the disability applicants who file a reconsideration appeal are denied. Your reconsideration appeal is far more likely to be denied than approved; consequently, you will almost certainly have to appeal a denial of your reconsideration appeal.

The next level of the disability process is an administrative law judge hearing appeal. Unlike the reconsideration appeal, your chance of qualifying for Social Security Disability dramatically improves at the administrative law judge disability hearing appeal.

In Georgia, about 62.5 percent are approved for disability benefits while the national average is roughly 60-65 percent. If you consider that the initial claim and reconsideration appeal approval rates combined do not exceed the approval rate for disability hearings, this is most likely your best chance to qualify for Social Security Disability in Georgia, or in any other state for that matter.

The reason there are more approvals at this level of the disability process is simple really. Administrative law judges are single decision makers who most often have a more liberal interpretation of Social Security Disability guidelines and rules.

Disability examiners are strictly bound by the criteria and impairment listings contained in the Social Security Disability guidebook, while judges are able to apply those rules in a more favorable manner to the disability applicant. They can consider how an individual's medical impairments impact their ability to maintain substantial work activity, even if these medical impairments would not individually constitute an approval for disability benefits.

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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