If you suffer from a disabling medical condition that affects your ability to work and financially support yourself, you may qualify to receive monetary benefits under two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA):
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), for which you may be eligible based upon your work history and mandatory deductions from your paycheck; and,
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is needs-based and focuses on income and assets that fall below a minimum threshold established by SSA.
Of course, as with other government benefits and entitlement programs, you need to apply to receive SSDI or SSI. You might expect this process to involve little more than filling out some forms, and you are not alone. Many people in your position tackle the paperwork themselves, only to find that errors or omissions prevent SSA from approving benefits.
Denials at the initial application level are shockingly high, so it is worthwhile to note the figures before you decide to go it alone in filing your application. You increase your chances of being approved the first time around when you retain a South Carolina Social Security disability lawyer, and statistics on SSDI/SSI denials should be convincing.
Approval Rates and Statistics by Program: Since there are different eligibility requirements for the two Social Security disability programs, SSA maintains separate data. The details reveal that getting approval on either of them is an uphill battle.
SSDI: The figures on approvals for SSDI benefits reveal the following:
- On average, 22 percent of applicants were awarded SSDI benefits at the initial application stage from 2008 to 2017. During this period, the highest level of approvals was 25 percent and the lowest was 20 percent.
- Starting in 2000, there has been a downward trend in approvals by SSA. The data indicates that, in any given year, SSA has never approved MORE applications than the year before.
- If denied at the initial application level, the numbers do not improve. If you seek reconsideration, there is a 2 percent chance that you will be successful in obtaining benefits. Nine percent of applicants who take their claim to a disability hearing will be approved.
SSI: Though the criteria is different for getting approval under this needs-based program, the statistics from the SSI program are also telling.
- More than 43.5 percent of applications were approved in 1999, but that number dropped to 32 percent in 2017.
- There is a shockingly high number of applications that were still pending years after initial submission. As of fiscal year 2018, SSA was processing 221,398 applications from 2016 and 280,919 from 2017. Many of these claims were at the reconsideration or hearing stages.
How an SSDI/SSI Attorney Can Help: Legal counsel with your initial application is crucial, since lawyers understand the strict, very specific rules established by SSA. Your attorney will ensure that your paperwork is in order and you have sufficient documentation to support your claim from a medical standpoint. You must also have details regarding your work history for SSDI applications, and information related to income and assets for SSI. If you do not obtain approval on your initial application, an attorney can assist with reconsideration, disability hearings, and the appeals process if necessary.
Our South Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Help with the Claims Process
When you cannot work because of a disability and earn no income, it is critical to get approval on your SSDI/SSI application right away. Mistakes can lead to denials and delays, which put you in a dire financial situation. Instead of putting your rights at risk, please contact Powers Law, LLC in Greenwood, SC. We can schedule a consultation with a Social Security disability attorney who can review your circumstances and explain the application process.