Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, can be a long and frustrating experience for many individuals. Some applicants have multiple conditions that impact each other while others will have one specific issue that might justify an immediate approval. However, the Social Security Administration is meticulous in approving claims of total overall health issues that prohibit the ability to earn a substantive living income. For many Tennesseans, claims are denied, and applicants are required to retain a disability attorney to prove that the totality of their health issues amounts to the same problem as a prior approved condition in the SSA Blue Book. This is accomplished through the appeals process.
Comparing to the Blue Book
The SSA Blue Book is the list of medical conditions that singularly have been approved in prior cases. It is used in both claims for SSDI as well as SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, which is administered and approved by state government disability determinations boards. The SSA says that approximately 30-35% of all claims are approved on the initial application, many of which could be SSI claims.
Understanding the appeals system
The discrepancy between automatically approved claims and denied claims means that most claimants are approved through the appeals process. The SSA has a designated response time of up to 90 days in making an initial determination with applicants having 30 days to request a reconsideration. This is typically done immediately by the applicant or their SSDI legal representative by requesting a hearing.
The SSA allows for certain cases to be determined through a software system when the claim is obviously valid and can be immediately authorized. In addition, terminal illness claims can be expedited for SSDI along with Presumptive Disability applications for those requesting obvious SSI approvals.
Everyone who applies for Social Security benefits of any type should be prepared to wait out the decision because it can indeed take some time. While the typical appeals case takes approximately 18 months, it might take up to 27 months in borderline claims. However, some applicants are approved quickly when their case is obvious and they are in a dire circumstance for approval.