Lizabeth L. Marshall
Even with the help of a legal expert, getting approved for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits can be a real battle. As lawmakers continue to debate the future of Social Security in general, millions of Americans rely on its programs just to continue living day to day.
As a disability lawyer in Massachusetts, I regularly see the real need in our disabled residents for a lifeboat in a sea of political unrest and economic uncertainty. Too many SSA disability applicants are denied. Consider the following statistics for the five levels defined by the SSA:
- At the initial application level, only about 35% of total applicants are approved, leaving 65% to either give up or continue to fight.
- About 87% of first appeals are denied at the reconsideration level.
- If the applicant continues to the hearing level, he or she stands about a 62% chance of being awarded benefits.
- The fourth level, appeals court, awards only about 2% of all applicants.
- The final level, federal court, denies about 70% of all cases.
It is only through the efforts of the legal representatives that the numbers are not even lower. According to Charles Martin, president of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, “getting disability approval is harder than ever. Undocumented pain, alcoholism and drug abuse have been disqualified. Mental retardation and HIV standards are tougher. Diabetes and obesity are no longer distinct disabilities…Applicants must now present objective medical evidence of disability. This is no rubber-stamp process.”
Martin argues that, even though there are “undeserving claimants or deficient judges,” there are still more and more people in need. And these people must be represented to “navigate a daunting and often confusing bureaucracy.”
If you or a loved one is disabled and in need of help, Keefe Disability Law is prepared to take you as far as necessary through the levels of appeal in order to get a favorable decision. We have helped many claimants in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. Call us today toll free at 888-904-6847 to schedule a free case consultation.
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