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Defending And Empowering The Disabled

Social Security disability benefits help millions of people in the United States every year. SSDI recipients often rely on these benefits to help pay for monthly living expenses that they otherwise may not be able to afford.

SSDI benefits help many Americans. Unfortunately, new reports show that more SSDI claims are being denied by administrative law judges in the U.S. The increase in denied claims has led to more applicants going to federal court to try and have their cases approved. 

SSDI claims are reviewed several times if they are not approved during the initial review. Initial determinations are based on an applicant’s medical records. If the claim is denied, it is reviewed by an administrative law judge. If the administrative law judge denies the claim, it is reviewed by the Appeals Council and then by the federal court if the Appeals Council also denies the claim. The federal court can award benefits or have an administrative law judge review the case again. 

The increase in SSDI cases being denied is not good news for disability advocates and families across the country. Fewer cases being approved by administrative law judges means that more people with disabilities are not receiving benefits, and those that do appeal to federal court and win their case have to wait a while before receiving benefits. 

Why are more SSDI applications being denied by administrative law judges? Social Security officials say that more claims are being denied due to the current economy and more people applying for benefits. 

Some attorneys said that the increase in denied claims may also be due to the types of judges being hired to review SSDI claims. They say that more judges have previously worked for the Social Security Administration and that their review process has been impacted by working for the agency. They also say that some judges may feel outside pressure to not approve too many cases. 

With more SSDI claims being denied, it is important for applicants to consult a Social Security Disability attorney for advice and guidance during the initial review and appeals process. 

Source: Citizens Voice, “Social Security disability approvals decline,” Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Dec. 2, 2013

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