Thursday, November 15, 2007

Applying for Social Security Disability in Michigan

An article on Michigan Radio News had some interesting statistics regarding the road ahead for individuals who have an application for social security disability in Michigan. The article also had some fairly good statistics on the disability process in general, such as the fact that over two million individuals in the U.S. apply for disability each year, with the great majority being denied and forced to appeal before having any real chance of winning disability benefits.

In Michigan, a claimant who A) gets denied on a disability application, B) gets denied again on a request for reconsideration, and C) requests a hearing before an ALJ (administrative law judge) will have to wait about two years before a hearing date is scheduled. In shouldn't be hard to figure out that with waits that long, a disability claimant in Michigan will probably have a rough road ahead, financially speaking.

However, the article did have a couple things wrong. For starters, backlogs in the disability system are not caused by baby boomers approaching retirement age. For one thing, social security disability benefits are typically requested by individuals who are much younger than this (anywhere between their twenties and fifties). Yes, you do see applications now and then filed by individuals in their early sixties, but this is really just a small percentage of the disability application pool. Secondly, the first wave of baby boomers hitting retirement age occurred just this year, while the backlog and the ingredients that went into creating it have existed for years.

In actuality, social security disability backlogs were created by A) an increase in the number of disability applications nationwide and B) inadequate funding for the social security administration which has lead to years of inadequate staffing in social security offices around the country. This staffing problem will only get worse because more social security administration workers will be retiring and because SSA does not seem to have any inclination as far replacing lost workers (which, of course, goes directly back to inadequate funding from Congress).

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts:
Requirements for disability
Disability Review
Disability Representation
Social Security Disability Application
How to file disability
Do they investigate you when you apply for Social Security Disability