First and foremost, Social Security disability requires that a claimant meet the definition of "disabled" on a medical basis. The medical basis for a finding of disability is most often found in the medical records of the claimant, created by his treating physician(s). For that reason, it is important to understand what information is included in the medical records.
Every year thousands of Americans are incorrectly reported as dead to the Social Security Administration. The mistakenly reported information of people who have actually passed can seriously impact the lives of individuals who receive Social Security Disability Income. In this post and the next, we will discuss the story of one woman whose disability benefits were terminated because of mistaken information and talk about what you can do if it happens to you.
When an application for social security disability benefits was denied by an Administrative Law Judge, claimants were usually left with four options: (1) file a new claim, (2) appeal the Judge's decision, (3) do nothing, or (4) appeal the Judge's decision AND file a new claim. As of August 1, 2011, the last option above is no longer available to claimants.
According to new information on the number of approved Social Security Disability Income appeals cases, the likelihood of having a disability benefits appeals case approved may depend on the discretion of the judge that decides the case. There is a growing disparity in approval rates among the Social Security Administration's 1,400 administrative law judges. According to federal data, some judges are inclined to approve most of the cases that come before them and others are inclined to deny most cases.
The Social Security Administration implemented efforts four-and-one-half years ago to reduce the backlog of Social Security Disability appeals cases, but despite the Administration's best efforts a recent study suggests the backlog has grown over the last year because of a jump in new applications. Over the past two years, the Social Security Disability Income program has struggled to handle the wave of new applicants for disability benefits. The wave of new applicants is likely related to the slow economic recovery.
Occasionally, the Social Security Administration will order a claimant for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income to undergo a consultative evaluation by a physician or mental health professional of the Administration's choosing. There are three important things to remember in association with these notices.
An administrative law judge that hears Social Security Disability appeals cases has been put on paid leave by the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration began an investigation of the administrative law judge just over two weeks ago. The investigation came in response to an article published by the Wall Street Journal that detailed the federal judge's history of approving the vast majority of his cases.
The Social Security Administration has begun an investigation of a Social Security Disability judge with a high award rate. The investigation operated by the Social Security Administration's inspector general's office was initiated when United States Senator Orrin Hatch questioned the process of how Social Security Disability benefits are awarded and the high rate of appeals approved by one administrative law judge.
A finding of disability does not require an individual be homebound or bedridden. Disability is not defined by a claimant's lack of ability to perform any task or participate in any sort of activity, but rather by the claimant's ability to perform sustained activity on a regular, daily basis for an extended amount of time without interference by their medication condition, medication or side effects.
Part of the analysis to determine eligibility for disability benefits by the Social Security Administration requires proof a "medically determinable impairment". Simply put, there must be medical documentation to show that an individual has an actual medical condition, a diagnosis, and has received some form of treatment for that condition. Generally, we look for clinical testing and objective evidence such as bloodwork, MRIs, X-rays and easily observed symptoms. Subjective complaints such as pain as then considered secondary to the medical documents.