Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Ohio?

The approval rate for disability applications, in Ohio is 30.0%. This corresponds to the national average meaning that approximately 70 percent of applicants in the state of Ohio will need to file at least one appeal before ultimately qualifying to receive disability benefits.

Filing for disability in Ohio

Initial Disability claims can be taken at any of the 57 Ohio Social Security Offices, either in person or by phone. If you chose to file your disability claim with your local Social security office, a Social Security claims Representative will take your claim, evaluate your eligibility for both SSDI and SSI, and complete all necessary disability forms. If you file telephonically, the SSA claims representative will send you a medical release form (form SSA-827) to sign and return.

Be aware that if you wish to file using Social Security's online claim system, you will not be able to file an SSI disability claim. This is an impediment for more than one reason.

First, many claims will be concurrent, meaning they will involve both disability application interview between a claims representative and the claimant. This interview allows a claimant to ask questions about the filing process and what to expect during the handling of their claim.

The online process, by contrast, does not allow for a disability interview that provides one-to-one contact with a claims representative and, therefore, tends to leave claimants with many unanswered questions.

What happens after the disability application is taken

Ohio has a centralized disability agency, the Division of Disability Determination (DDD) located in Columbus, Ohio. This agency makes all of the Ohio initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal decisions for the Social Security Administration.

Once your disability claim is taken it will be sent to DDD in Columbus, Ohio for a medical disability determination. There, the case will be assigned to a disability examiner. The examiner will obtain and evaluate all the necessary medical records in order to make a claim decision. In most cases, the examiner will also review the claimant's work history in order to determine if the claimant's current functional limitations allow them to either return to their past work, or switch to some type of other work.

Disability apppeals in Ohio

Unfortunately, the approval rate for initial disability claims in Ohio is only 30.0%, which means a substantial number of disability applicants who file for disability are denied.

If you are denied disability, you have two choices: file a new disability claim, or file a Request for Reconsideration appeal. In nearly all cases it will be to a claimant's benefit NOT to file a new claim, but, instead, to file a reconsideration request.

It is unlikely that a claim that is denied will be approved a subsequent new claim so the better option will be to file a reconsideration appeal.

Additionally, and crucially important, all Social Security Disability back payments are determined by the date you filed your initial disability claim--if you do not appeal your initial disability claim denial and, instead, start over with a new claim, you will, of course, have a new filing date that may cause you to lose potential back pay disability benefits.

Filing a reconsideration appeal does protect your filing date; however, unfortunately, it is unlikely to lead to an approval for disability benefits. Only 11.8 % of all disability applicants who file a reconsideration appeal in Ohio qualify for disability benefits.

For most disability applicants, the reconsideration appeal is just a necessary step in moving toward what is actually the most favorable level of the Social Security Disability process.

Disability hearings in Ohio

Should your reconsideration appeal be denied (and this is usually the case), you must file a Request for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

Ohio has disability hearing offices (ODAR) in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo. Your hearing will be scheduled at the ODAR hearing office closest to your residence (you can appear in some areas by video conference).

The disability hearing approval rate is about 60% in Ohio. This is better that at any other level of the system, however it still leaves significant potential for being denied if the case is is not sufficiently prepared to be presented to the judge at the disability hearing.

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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