Social Security Disability approvals at lowest point in five years

Recently released data shows that SSDI claim denials have reached a five-year high, demonstrating the challenges injured people face in obtaining benefits.

For many people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, the discouraging reality is that applications are often denied the first time around. This can be especially frustrating for those who are not able to work and rely on these benefits for support.

Now, according to new data the Social Security Administration has released, the approval rate for individuals seeking disability benefits has dropped to a five-year low. The administration's records indicate that only 48 percent of individuals who applied for SSDI benefits during the 2013 fiscal year were approved once reaching the hearing level. Even worse, only 33 percent of the applicants were approved after submitting their initial applications. Five years prior, approximately 36 percent of claimants received approvals with their initial applications, with 63 percent being approved at the hearing level.

Many SSDI advocates have expressed concern over this new information, which shows that applicants who are otherwise fully qualified are having an increasingly difficult time accessing the benefits they need. According to the SSA, these benefits are designed to provide crucial support for individuals under the full retirement age who are not able to work due to an injury or disability expected to last more than one year. The high number of denials likely means that there are many people across the country suffering from debilitating injuries or illnesses, yet unable to secure the support they need.

Do you need an attorney to help file for SSDI benefits?

Although it's not required to have a legal representative during the SSDI application process, at least speaking with an experienced attorney before you apply will help you avoid some of the most common obstacles and pitfalls that might prevent you from getting your benefits in a timely manner. To start, an experienced legal professional will be able to give you an idea if you might be eligible for benefits. If so, an attorney can anticipate the information required to fully document your claim, and suggest how you can obtain it and submit it to the SSA.

Once the application process has started, working with a skilled lawyer may increase your chances of successfully getting approved the first time around, without having to go through a hearing. This is because a SSDI attorney can help ensure your claim gets properly filed, contains all of the necessary information and records, and avoids the most common mistakes.

If your application gets denied initially and upon reconsideration, then the next step will be to file a request for hearing. At this stage you definitely will want to hire an experienced attorney to help you during the hearing process. Before the hearing your attorney can obtain new evidence from your doctors to respond to the information that led to your claim being denied initially or upon reconsideration. Your attorney can help you prepare for the hearing and the questions which the Social Security Judge will ask you at the hearing. Finally at the hearing, your attorney will be able to cross examine any vocational or expert witnesses the Social Security Judge has asked to testify.

If you are preparing to apply for SSDI benefits, consider meeting with an experienced lawyer who focuses on Social Security Disability law. Contact a Tucson SSDI lawyer right away to discuss your claim and get the process started.

Keywords: Social Security, disability, SSDI