Successfully Applying for Disability Benefits in Kansas

Applying for Disability in Kansas

How to apply and qualify for SSD, SSI in Kansas (KS)

Note: If you have already filed a claim and been denied for disability, or are wondering what to do in the event of a Social Security denial, proceed to the reconsideration and hearing appeal sections below.

Level I: Disability Application - An application for disability in Kansas has a 30-32 percent chance of being approved at the initial claim level. Conversely, 68-70 percent of claims are denied in any given year, meaning that for a claimant to ultimately receive a Social Security Disability Award or SSI disability award, it will be necessary to file appeals.

Adults and children in the state of Kansas who successfully satisfy the criteria and qualifications for Social Security Disability and/or SSI disability will be approved to receive ongoing monthly disability benefits. Cases that qualify and are approved for ongoing benefit receipt will be periodically reviewed at intervals (known as CDRS, or continuing disability reviews), typically every three years.

Qualifying for disability

The requirements for SSI and SS disability in Kansas begin with an evaluation of the medical evidence that is gathered from the claimant's list of medical treatment sources. This list is supplied at the time of application when the claim is initiated at a local Social Security office.

To ensure that the case is properly developed, and to maximize the chances of qualifying for disability, a claimant should supply identifying information for all treatment sources (including the name of the facility, the name of the attending physician, the treatment provided, and the dates for which treatment was provided). Medical evidence on a disability claim is used to establish an RFC, or residual functional capacity rating for the claimant.

An RFC rating is a meaurement of what the claimant is functionally capable of doing, given the effect their condition has on them. The RFC rating, depending on its severity, may effectively rule out the claimant's ability to return to work, either work they have performed in the past, or work that they might otherwise do were it not for their limitations.

For a child filing for disability in Kansas, the medical evidence, and possibly the child's school records and testing records, will be used to determine if the child has limitations with regard to his or her ability to engage in age-appropriate activities.

How long will a disability decision take?

Cases that are pending at the disability application level in Kansas may take as long as 3-4 months before a decision is made by a disability examiner. In cases where the claimant has had recent heart surgery or has suffered a stroke, the case may take significantly longer due to the need to defer the case for 90 days in order to determine if the claimant has residual effects. In cases where it is necessary to send the claimant to multiple medical examinations, a decision on a case may take significantly longer.

  • Disability application denial rate: 67.3 percent.
  • Disability application approval rate: 32.7 percent.

    Level II: Request for Reconsideration - A request for reconsideration must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial of the disability application in order to be considered timely. Filing a late appeal will mean that the appeal will not be accepted by the Social Security office and that a claimant will be forced to start over with a new disability claim. The effect of this, of course, is that valuable months of processing time will be lost and also that the claimant may lose significant amounts of Social Security back pay.

    The reconsideration appeal is requested by contacting the Social Security office that did the intake for the disability application and requesting that appeal forms be sent out. After the claimant completes and returns this paperwork, the claim will be processed by the Social Security office. Processing essentially means that the reconsideration will be sent back to DDS, or disability determination services, where it will be assigned to a new disability examiner.

    Note: After submitting the required appeal paperwork, a claimant should make a followup call to the Social Security office to verify that the forms have, in fact, been received. Usually, the followup call should be made within 10 days. Making such a followup call can potentially avoid a situation where the appeal deadline is missed because the forms were A) never received by the Social Security office and B) the claimant never became aware of this fact.

    The qualifications for disability are the same at the reconsideration appeal level as at the application level. The process for rendering a disability determination is also identical. The examiner in charge of the case will review the medical evidence and determine the claimant's level of physical and mental functioning. Deficits in functioning will be rated on an RFC, or residual functional capacity, assessment. This assessment will be compared to the demands of the claimant's past work (potentially any jobs performed by the claimant in the 15 year period prior to becoming disabled).

    If the individual's restrictions do not allow them to return to their past work, the examiner will also consider whether or not the claimant can do some type of other work. If this is not possible, the claimant may qualify for disability assuming they also satisfy the non-medical requirements for disability (i.e. not having excess assets if they have an SSI disability application and not having earned income in excess of the allowable limit if they are working while filing the disabilit claim).

    Because the process at the first appeal level is basically a repeat of the disability application level, the rate of denial is fairly high. In fact, a higher percentage of requests for reconsideration are denied than initial claims.

    However, the rate of approval at the disability hearing level is substantially higher for a number of reasons; therefore, the next step following the denial of a reconsideration should be the filing of a request for a hearing.

  • Reconsideration appeal denial rate: 84.4 percent.
  • Reconsideration appeal approval rate: 15.6 percent.

    Level III: Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge - The disability hearing is the second Social Security appeal available to claimants and may be requested only after a reconsideration appeal has been denied.

    Like all appeals, the hearing must be requested within 60 days of the date of the prior denial, but, ideally, should be requested immediately after receiving notification of the denial of the reconsideration appeal to avoid unnecessary case processing delays, as well as the possibility of a missed appeal deadline.

    Basic facts about disability hearings

  • Disability Hearing denial rate: 61.6 percent
  • Disability Hearing approval rate: 38.4 percent

    Note: The hearing level disability award rates stated above are an average for the state of Kansas. The Topeka KS hearing office has a disability award rate of 29.9 percent while the Wichita KS hearing office has a disability award rate of 47.1 percent. The SSA region that Kansas is a part of has a hearing award rate of 43.1 percent. The award rates for the region and for the individual Kansas hearing offices is below the national average.

    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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