Thursday, May 18, 2006

Social Security Disability SSI - Reapplying is NOT the same thing as appealing

A woman in texas posted on her blog that her 62 year old husband who has rheumatoid arthritis and a heart condition has been unable to get approved for disability benefits. She's even planning to build him a wheelchair ramp and get him portable oxygen. That's how bad his condition is.

You can make all the structural changes to the disability system that you want, but unless you do something to get rid of decision-making like this, I'm not really sure how much good it will do.

The new plan being instituted by the Social Security Administration Commissioner is touted by SSA as the kind of reform that will get rid of bonehead decisions that deny 62 year olds with very significant health issues. And the plan calls for quick decision units whose mission will be to work on disability cases that are "obvious". However, as every individual who ever worked on a disability claim knows, disability claims are not obvious.

What do I mean by this? That even if you send a case to a quick decision unit, the examiners will still have to order the medical records and apply the same evaluation process to the claim. So, what does that change? NOTHING.

And how do you identify a case that should go to a quick decision unit anyway? Will someone at the social security office do this? Quess what? They're not trained to do that. They take claims. They don't process them. They don't read and evaluate medical records.

The commissioner's plan to make the social security disability and SSI disability system more equitable is smoke and mirrors. If you really wanted to FIX the problem (And they don't. They're simply trying to make it more difficult for people to get approved and in future posts we'll deal with that), you would spend the required amount of money it would take to put more warm bodies into the system. For the social security disability system, that means more disability examiners, more social security field office claims reps, more hearing office support staff, etc.

And you'd also have to alter the quality review process on cases so that there is not an institutional bias toward denying claims. That's actually the most important item on a reform "hit" list. Hiring more warm bodies would push cases faster so people with disabilities wouldn't have to go broke and file for bankruptcy while they wait on the benefits they are entitled to. But to make sure that ridiculous decisions become a thing of the past---for that you have to get rid of some problems that have become institutionalized. In other words, fix a system that punishes disability examiners for making too many approvals on disability cases. *Note: regarding bankruptcy, please remember that this is the same administration that thinks that average citizens should not be entitled to bankruptcy protection while the Donald Trumps of the world can file for bankruptcy protection every other month (which I think he does).

Oh, here's the point I was actually trying to make on this post. The woman in her blog stated "He said he will keep reapplying every 60 days".

Remember: filing new applications is NOT the same thing as appealing a denial. In almost all cases, unless you received a "technical denial", you need to appeal when you've been denied.

Related posts:

Should you appeal a disability denial ? How do you do it ?

Appeals for social security disability and SSI

Changes to the Social Security Disability and SSI Disability system that disadvantage claimants

How many Social Security Disability and SSI claimants do not file an appeal ?

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Social Security Disability SSI Degenerative Disc Disease and Back pain
File for disability
Disability appeal information
Disability for Bipolar Disorder


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