The process of obtaining Social Security income or disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) is an extraordinarily long and excruciating one. While dealing with burdens at home, it isn’t straightforward to understand all the requirements for the process. It can be a very tough and confusing time, and having someone to guide you through it could alleviate a lot of your stress. An experienced attorney can guide you better than anyone else and can act as a solid supportive pillar throughout this time.
What is Social Security and What Are the Approval Rates?
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) two main programs, Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI and SSDI), are made to assist working-age adults who cannot work due to a mental or physical disability and to assist lower-income people.
The criterion for SSDI and SSI are pretty clear. For SSDI, you must have worked both long enough and recently enough and should have been paying into Social Security to ensure that you are “insured.” If you are insured, then you can receive benefits. Social Security Income is for disabled children and adults who have limited access to resources and income.
The medical requirements are similar for SSI and SSDI, too, with benefits being given to people who have conditions expected to last at least one year or more or result in death.
The SSA says that it typically accepts about 25% of the applicants who apply. However, filing an appeal is also proven to be quite effective, with approval rates for appeals being around a whopping 49%, which is a lot. But despite their generally positive results, requests tend to take a relatively long time. Although people pay into Social Security benefits as they work throughout their lives, they often have to overcome several obstacles to obtaining the help that they have earned and worked so hard for.
“About 10,000 people who are constantly trying to stay afloat and survive while not being able to work, die each year without getting the benefits that they needed to survive.” Explained Attorney Jan Dils of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law.
What is a Social Security Appeal, and What is the Process Like?
If your SSD application, like many others, is declined, you can file for an appeal. It is always a good idea for denied applicants to appeal their claims. Many are approved at the administrative hearing level by an administrative law judge even after the SSA had initially denied them. However, you only have 60 days from the date of denial to file your appeal with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
During the administrative hearing, you can give your testimony and documents regarding your disability and why you cannot perform a substantial gainful activity. Although these hearings are informal, testimony is given under oath, and the hearing is recorded. They are usually held in a conference room and not in a formal courtroom.
Even if your ALJ denies your appeal, you can still appeal to the Appeals Council. This is done by filing a Request for Review of Hearing Decision. There is no hearing or meeting with the AC. They review the circumstances and make a decision and determine whether or not the ALJ was mistaken. If they believe the ALJ was mistaken, they send it back to the ALJ for review. But if they say that the ALJ was correct, your claim is denied; however, you can still appeal to Federal District Court within 60 days.
How Can An Attorney Help?
Having an attorney during and before this hearing can be very beneficial as they can guide you on presenting your case and what evidence you should provide to strengthen your appeal. They can also help you practice before the hearing and give you the encouragement you need. An attorney can also find any errors made by the ALJ and send a written argument to the Appeals Committee. They can also represent you in the Federal District Court.
Often the people who are waiting to receive Social Security benefits face other hardships along the way, like evictions, sicknesses, and other health concerns. With unemployment rates at an all-time high during the pandemic, there will be implications for Social Security recipients and applicants. You must fight for your case and get someone to help you.