Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim can come with many challenges. If you’re aware of some of the more common challenges you'll face, you can deal with them before they become a problem. Here are two common challenges to SSDI claims and how to overcome them.
1. The High Rate of Denials for Initial Claims
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a report on how many claims they deny compared to how many they receive. For example, in 2015, about 30 percent of people received benefits from their initial claim.
Most people received a technical or medical denial. Some others are still waiting for a decision. One ray of hope for applicants is the rate of acceptance on appeal. About half of the people who go on to appeal a denial will receive their benefits, so if you’re denied, you should strongly consider this next step.
Overcome the Challenge
You can overcome the challenge of being denied benefits in several ways. Most importantly, you must file your SSDI claim properly. Many of those initials denials occur because of:
- A lack of information
- Inadequate documentation
- Missing work history
- A lack of communication
- A misunderstanding of what's needed or expected
Many people give up on the process if they receive a denial for their initial claim. In addition, the statistics also show the SSA awards benefits less each year. Claiming benefits becomes harder as time goes by.
Just remember your odds go up if you file an appeal. Nevertheless, those things can take a long time and require even more effort on your part. Getting it all right the first time is the best thing you can do for yourself.
2. The Wait Times During Any Part of the Process
Applying for SSDI benefits can often turn into a long waiting game. Even if you gain approval on your initial application, you may have to wait a couple of months before you receive a payment. You will have to wait even longer before you see any back pay owed.
Waiting times can vary greatly depending on what part of the process you're at. Where you live can also factor into the processing time.
The appeal process has a notoriously long wait time. The SSA backlog of appeal hearings numbered in the hundreds of thousands for a long time and kept growing.
The SSA publishes a list of the average wait times for hearings in each state. The shortest waits tend to take up three quarters of a year. The longest waits can stretch for over two years.
Overcoming the Challenge
No matter how long the wait, it can destroy someone's momentum when they need their benefits as soon as possible. The best thing you can do is stay the course. Even if you're waiting for a hearing, you can take comfort knowing your odds of receiving your benefits are far better because of it.
A lot of the waiting is out of everybody's hands. However, getting professional guidance, such as working with a Social Security attorney, can help. You won’t have to wait nearly as long if the SSA accepts your initial claim, and an attorney can help you file your claim correctly to give you the best chance at an initial acceptance.
Additionally, an attorney can help you file for an appeal. Both of those processes need as much attention to detail as the initial claim. Your legal representative can also help you determine if you're eligible for one or more of the SSA expedite options.
At the Law Center for Social Security Rights, we only handle SSD and SSI cases. No matter where you're at in the process, contact us immediately to give your claim its best chance.