Social Security Disability

To be found disabled for purposes of receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) under either of SSD’s two (2) programs (RDSI or SSI), an individual (except for a title II widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, or a Title XVI child younger than age 18) must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) of such severity that he or she is not only unable to do his or her previous work but cannot, considering his or her age, education, training, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. The SSD provides a sequential evaluation process for determining disability. The disability must last for a period of at least twelve (12) months.

Nationwide, about 70% of all applicants are initially denied benefits at the application process. Of those who appeal the application denial and proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), approximately 50% nationwide receive benefits at the ALJ hearing level. In general, the application process takes about 3-6 months before a decision has been made. If the claimant loses at the application process and requests a hearing, the hearing will not generally take place until 12-15 months after the request for hearing has been submitted to SSA.

The ALJ hearing is an informal process and it is possible that a claimant can represent himself or herself at this level. However, statistics show that claimants who are represented by an attorney are successful more often than claimants without attorney representation.

Generally, attorneys who represent claimants at the hearing level, generally will assist or work with the claimant prior to the hearing in the following manner:

  • Gather medical and other items of evidence
  • Analyze specific of the case relative to SSA regulations
  • Gather additional reports from medical providers regarding your ability to work and/or the claimant’s restrictions on working as a result of the physical and/or mental impairments
  • Refer claimant to additional specialists, as may be required, in order to clear up issues that may have existed during the initial application process.
  • Review all medicals submitted to SSA
  • Request subpoenas as necessary
  • Advise and assist claimant in preparation of the hearing
  • Protect claimant’s rights during the hearing
  • Cross-examine adverse testimony primarily provided by SSA’s vocational expert
  • Submit a pre-hearing brief to the ALJ as to why claimant should be entitled to benefits
  • Present a closing argument at ALJ hearings

Generally, having an attorney at the ALJ SSD hearing stage can make all the difference in the outcome of getting a successful result for SSD benefits. Therefore, if a claimant has lost at the initial filing stage for SSD benefits they should contact an experienced SSD attorney like Seth T. Seidell to discuss the appeal process.

Social Security Disability Appeal Representation-Michigan

Have you been denied social security disability benefits?

According to the Social Security Administration, some of the top reasons individuals are denied social security disability benefits upon application are as follows:

  • You have not had the disability long enough or it isn’t severe enough
  • Refusal to cooperate with Social Security, such as getting an independent medical exam
  • You don’t have up to date medical records or you have insufficient medical documentation
  • You don’t follow through with the appeal process after being denied at the application level
  • Even though you might have a physical or mental impairment, Social Security claims you can still work in your usual type of work or another type of work
  • The impairment resulted from an alcohol/drug addiction or conviction which may make you ineligible
  • You failed to follow a prescribed treatment
  • You returned to substantial work before the disability can be established

Social Security Disability statistics show that only 30-40% of individuals are successful at getting social security disability at the application phase. The approval rate increases approximately an additional 10% on claims that were denied but were submitted for reconsideration. However, social security disability claims approval (those denied after application or reconsideration of a denial) jumps dramatically at the administrative hearing level where the success rate, depending on the jurisdiction you are in, climbs to 50-60% overall. Our firm represents individuals in Michigan who have been denied social security benefits and have a pending hearing or are waiting for a hearing date to be provided before an administrative law judge. We only get paid if we WIN your social security disability claim appeal..