Successfully Applying for Disability Benefits in Wyoming

Applying for Disability in Wyoming

How to apply and qualify for SSD, SSI in Wyoming (WY)

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 - The odds of qualifying for disability in Kentucky are in line with the national averages over the past two decades. Typically, in any given year, an individual filing for disability in the state will stand nearly a 1 in 4 chance of being approved; the corollary to this is that approximately 3 out of 4 claimants are denied disability benefits.

However, while most claims are denied at the first level of the claim system, and, again, most claims are denied at the first appeal level, the reconsideration appeal, the majority of claims are eventually approved at the disability hearing level, meaning that those who persist and file timely appeals (failing to file an appeal within the sixty day deadline from the date of a denial will mean having to start the process from the very beginning) will stand a favorable chance of being awarded benefits.

Qualifying for disability

The qualifications for disability benefits may be thought of in two ways. First, there are non-medical qualifications that are considered before a Social Security Disability or SSI claim undergoes a medical evaluation.

If, for example, a person filing for disability is working and earning income that is in excess of the allowable limits, their claim may be denied on the basis of having substantial and gainful income.

If, using a different example, an applicant for SSI disability has assets that are in excess of the allowable limits, the claim may be denied on the basis of excess resources (note: assets are only taken into consideration in the SSI program, since it is based on need; assets are not a consideration in the title 2 Social Security Disability program).

In either instance, the claim would be denied quickly before even being assigned to a disability examiner for a decision based on the medical merits of the case.

The non-medical criteria for a case can essentially stop a case before it begins. The medical requirements for a case, however, are taken into consideration after a claim has been taken in a local Social Security office and the claim has then been sent to the DDS, or disability determination services, agency in a particular state for processing.

At DDS, the case is assigned to a disability examiner whose responsibility it is to decide the outcome of the case. This is done by gathering the medical records from the medical treatment sources listed at the time of application, reviewing these records to determine if the claimant has a condition that satisfies a listing.

If the claimant does not have a listing level impairment, the examiner continues reviewing the medical evidence to a) determine the functional limitations possessed by the claimant, and b) then compare these limitations in functional ability to the types of work performed by the claimant in the past. If the individual's limitations are severe enough, and rule out the ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income, the case will be approved.

In most instances, this does not occur, making it necessary for the claimant to file their first appeal, the request for reconsideration.

  • Disability application denial rate: 50.5 percent.
  • Disability application approval rate: 49.5 percent.

    Level II: Request for Reconsideration - This appeal may be filed in the event that the disability application is denied. Reconsiderations may be requested after the denial of a disability application and the appeal paperwork must be received by Social security within 65 days from the date of the denial. The 65 day appeal period includes 60 days plus an extra 5 days that Social security adds on to account for the mailing of the appeal paperwork.

    After the claimant contacts the Social Security office to request the appeal, that office will send out an appeal form, a medical release form, and a disability report form. On the disability report form, the claimant should indicate any new medical treatment as well as any changes in their condition. This will put Social Security on notice to obtain updated medical evidence.

    Claimants who have disability representation in the form of a disability attorney or non-attorney disability representative should not have to submit the appeal themselves. However, once the denial letter is received, a claimant should contact their representative to make sure both parties are aware of the denial. This may help prevent a missed appeal deadline.

    Claimants who are not represented should request the appeal as soon as possible and return the appeal paperwork as soon as possible also. After the appeal paperwork has been completed, the claimant should make a copy to keep for their personal records. After the appeal has been submitted, a followup status call should be made to the Social Security office within 10-14 days. This is to verify that the appeal was received--again, to avoid the possibility of a missed appeal deadline.

    Note: If an appeal deadline is missed, the claimant will likely have to file for disability with a new application. In addition to wasting months of additional time, the claim will begin with a new filing date and the claimant may, as a result, find themselves eligible for less disability back pay than might otherwise have been the case.

    The qualifications for disability are no different at this level than at the application level. Nor is the process of deciding the claim. At each level, the case will be assigned to a disability examiner who will review the evidence of the case to determine one of the following outcomes:

    1. That the case should be approved because the claimant has a medical condition that satisfies the requirements of a listing in the Social Security Disability list of impairments.

    2. That the case should be approved because the claimant has successfully passed the 5 step sequential evaluation system and has been found to no longer have the ability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity, either at a past job, or at some other type of job for which their skills and education might ordinarily qualify them.

    3. That the case will be denied.

    Unfortunately, most claims will be denied at this level. The odds of qualifying for disability at the reconsideration level are far lower than at the disability application level. Fortunately, at the next appeal level the odds lie in the claimant's favor as long as the case is both properly prepared and presented to the administrative law judge who hears the case.

  • Reconsideration appeal denial rate: 93.4 percent.
  • Reconsideration appeal approval rate: 6.6 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: 48.7 percent
  • Disability Hearing approval rate: 51.3 percent

    Note: The disability award rate for hearings in Wyoming is even with the national average as well as for SSA region 8. In the region for Wyoming, hearings have a case processing time of 374 days.

    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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