There are four levels in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) review and award system for disability. There is an additional level that takes you out of the SSA system to Federal Court, although only a small percentage of applicants will pass through all five levels.
Level One – Application. About 65 percent of initial applications are denied.
Complete the initial Social Security disability application and in most instances, a detailed Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire. There is an extensive amount of paperwork to complete at this initial level. According to the SSA, it is necessary for a doctor to verify information in the application with pertinent medical information and confirm that the disabling condition will last 12 months or longer. Being vague about your work history and exaggerating the impact of your disability will contribute to your claim being denied.
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your home state makes the initial disability determination. They secure medical evidence and arrange for one or more consultative exams if there is not enough evidence to make a decision. DDS employees gather and evaluate all the information to arrive at a disability determination. The wait period at level One may take as little as three months, but the average is four to six months. Only about 35 percent of initial applications are approved.
There are more than 100 rare diseases and cancers that may qualify someone for a quicker SSDI decision through the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program.
Level Two – Reconsideration. 87 percent of first appeals are denied.
Level Three – Hearing. Approx 62 percent of second appeals are awarded to applicant.
Level Four -Appeals Court. Only 2 percent of third appeals result in a favorable decision for the applicant.
Level Five – Federal Court. Approximately 70 percent of these are denied with a small amount receiving a decision in FDC that resulted in an award. The remainder of those are remanded (sent back) to the hearing level for an additional hearing.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs nearly 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis.
For more information and to receive a FREE consultation visit Allsup.com.
Allsup, Inc. About SSDI. SSDI Process. Updated 9/8/2011
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