Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Illinois?

Qualifying for Social Security Disability in Illinois may take some time; however the odds of qualifying for disability are better if you use the disability denial appeal process. Currently, the initial disability claim approval rate in Illinois is about 30 percent while the national average is about 32 percent.

If your initial disability claim is denied, you have three choices. You can give up on Social Security Disability, file a new disability claim, or file a reconsideration appeal to continue the disability process.

Quite frankly, far too many disability applicants give up on disability if they receive an initial disability denial--only to have to return to file again with a new claim.

Why is it not a good idea to just file a new disability claim? In addition to losing months of processing time in which your case might have moved farther along in the sytem, there is the issue of back pay.

When you file a disability claim with Social Security your potential back payment of disability benefits depends on the date you filed your claim. If you are denied and do not appeal your disability denial, your protected date of filing is lost; consequently any back payment of benefits will be tied to the date you file a new disability claim.

Whereas, if you decide to begin the Social Security Disability appeal process after your claim has been denied (in other words, you do not allow a lapse), your date of filing will follow your claim through the entire disability process. This means you may receive a higher amount of disability back pay if you are approved at a later level.

The obvious, best choice is to appeal your initial disability claim denial with a reconsideration appeal. You should be prepared for the likelihood of a denial at the reconsideration appeal level. Without new medical evidence, or an error on the part of the disability examiner who made your initial disability claim decision, there is very little chance of qualifying for disability at the reconsideration appeal. In fact, the reconsideration appeal approval rate in Illinois is about 8 percent while the national average is about 10.5 percent.

Most disability applicants just have to look at their reconsideration appeal as a necessary step on the way to the next level of the Social Security Disability process.

The next level of the disability process is an administrative law judge disability hearing and it offers the best chance to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Administrative law judges are not bound by the same case processing constraints as the disability examiners who make the initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal disability determinations and this seems to promote more disability approvals.

The approval rate for disability hearings in Illinois is about 57 percent which is a bit lower than the national average appeal rate of 60 percent.

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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