Many Californians inaccurately believe that Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are easy to receive. After all, one need only prove that he or she meets the Social Security Administration's definition of disabled, satisfy work requirements, and prove that the disability is to last for at least a year or result in death. But the truth of the matter is that most SSD claims are denied. In fact, one recent report indicated that as many as 77 percent of all initial claims are denied. Even on appeal, less than 50 percent of claims are granted.
This knowledge can be worrisome, especially since approximately 2.3 million disability claims were filed in 2016 alone. As disheartening as that may sound, it's worth noting that about 10.5 million individuals are currently drawing SSD benefits after successfully pursuing their claims. So, being armed with a claim that is supported by strong evidence can result in a favorable outcome for an individual who is suffering from a disability.
Sure, the wait times can be extremely long. The current backlog of cases is over one million, and it can take 500 days or more to receive an adjudication. But this shouldn't deter people from seeking the benefits they need to get by. Instead, it means they need to work harder and smarter on the front end, ensuring that they know what a claims adjudicator will be looking for and how to satisfy the elements of an SSD claim.
This is where the assistance of an attorney may prove beneficial. A legal professional experienced with SSD claims may know which evidence will best support a claim and how to develop strong legal arguments that can be persuasive to an administrative law judge. Those who want to learn more about how to strengthen their claim should consider whether to seek the assistance of a legal professional who will do everything in his or her power to recover the compensation a disabled individual needs and deserves.
Source: The Washington Post, "Social Security failing to keep up with disabled population," Eric Adler, March 24, 2017