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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Archives

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - No COLA!

Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will not see a benefit increase in 2016!  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI recipients saw a 1.7% increase in benefits in 2015. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of the current year.  This is only the third time in the history of the program that a cost of living adjustment has not occurred.  The low price of gasoline seems to be the consensus culprit.  It ignores the fact though that food prices continue to soar and this directly impacts those on a fixed income.

Hearing Times Continue Increasing - Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

I often write about how long it takes for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims to wind through the bureaucracy to completion and how often claims are denied.  I do this partially to dispel common myths that exist such as it easy to get disability benefits and everyone gets approved.  In September, I looked at why such a backlog exists for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI claims, but this week I will yet again examine just how bad the actual backlog has become nationally and in local hearing offices.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Epilepsy or Seizures

I often get calls about qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI due to epileptic seizures.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has stringent rules for those seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI based only on epilepsy at the listing level of the sequential process.  The regulations require:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Why the Backlog?

On August, 29, 2015, I wrote about waiting times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the hearing level. I try to blog on this subject every month or two because these statistics are so important to people waiting for their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI to be heard at a local hearing office. Today, I will look at some information behind the statistics in an effort to figure out why the processing times continue to increase at the hearing office or better known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Evaluating Symptoms

Last week, I discussed how the Social Security Administration evaluates Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims.  This week I want to briefly discuss how the SSA evaluates subjective symptoms by claimants in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases.  The SSA evaluates symptoms, including pain and fatigue, and the extent to which the symptoms can be accepted as consistent with the objective medical evidence. Cases are won and lost on the determination of the validity, extent, and effect of a claimant's symptoms, such as pain and fatigue.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Evaluating Claims

Whenever I meet with a potential Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) client, again prior to his or her hearing, I find it helpful to discuss how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates claims for disability.  In terms of meeting the medical requirements, the SSA utilizes the same process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims as it does for SSI claims.  The SSA calls the process the five-step sequential evaluation.  The evaluation is done in order and if a decision to approve or deny can be made at any step then the evaluation stops.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Waiting for a Hearing?

I used to write on and update about the average wait times for hearings in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims on a quarterly basis.  However, because the trend has continued to be on increasing processing times and decreasing approval rates, I have chosen to update more frequently.  Below you will find information on the processing times and approval rates for Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims for East Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Funding Solution?

A worry for those qualified to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is whether the necessary funds will be available to pay their benefits?  After waiting for years to go through the process, the thought must turn to whether the program will be solvent despite the worker paying into the system for years.  Representative Xavier Bacerra of California recently introduced a bill in Congress that would combine the Social Security Administration's Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund with Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which pays benefits for those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Appeals Council

The statistics bear out that someone trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are most likely to be successful at a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Check out my recent post regarding the hearing office wait times and approval percentages. However, as noted over 50% of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claimants lose at a hearing. The claimant must choose whether to appeal to the Appeals Council.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Know Your Attorney

One of my biggest pet peeves in practicing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims is attorneys and representatives that do not personally know or meet with their clients before the hearing. This is probably second only to non-attorney representatives handling Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI cases. See "Dangers of Non-Attorney Reps in Social Security Disability." Very often the claimant who meets his representative thirty minutes before his hearing is dealing with a non-attorney representative from some out-of-town advocacy group, but I also see it occurring with local and regional attorneys and that is even worse because attorneys should be held and should hold themselves to a higher standard based on the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.

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