Social Security Disability process

Your Rights During a Social Security Disability Claim

by Staff | March 23rd, 2015

As a United States citizen, you have certain rights that cannot be encroached upon, even by the federal government. So when you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it’s important to be informed of what your rights are during that process. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Social Security Disability lawyers explain each claimant has three basic rights to keep in mind. They include:

  • The Right to Equal Consideration– The law states that each Social Security Disability claim must be thoroughly examined in a timely manner before a decision is issued. In other words, decisions on claims cannot be blindly issued.
  • The Right to a Social Security Disability Appeal– If your claim is denied for any reason, you have the right to question that decision through the Social Security Administration’s appeals process. A publication from the agency outlines the steps of this process in detail.
  • The Right to Legal Representation- When filing a Social Security Disability appeal, it’s important to remember you have the right to be represented in court and during legal proceedings by an attorney. The law also states that an individual is prohibited from charging you or collecting a fee without written approval from the Social Security Administration.

Our legal staff at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin has a thorough understanding of Social Security Disability law and hope these tips help clarify your rights. If you have any questions regarding the Social Security Disability claim process or your rights, feel free to give us a call at (800) 477-7315 to get the answers you need.

The Effects of Flaws in the Social Security Disability Benefit Claims Process

by Staff | June 13th, 2014

It’s no secret that the Social Security Administration is overwhelmed by a growing number of Social Security Disability benefit claims that are awaiting processing. What is shocking is the discovery that many cases are receiving hasty decisions from judges in an effort to get through their caseloads.

Reports from the Boston Herald indicate 200 administrative judges are coming under fire for allegedly “rubber stamping” claims, or approving claims without taking a close look at the evidence that was provided. These actions are said to have cost the program and taxpayers billions of dollars over the last several years.

Investigators found one judge in particular was responsible for approving 99 percent of the claims that came across his bench from 2005 to 2013. With lifetime benefits for a recipient averaging around $300,000, his actions potentially cost as much as $1.8 billion alone.

On the flip side of the coin, many legitimate Social Security Disability benefit claims are initially being denied—only to have the decision overturned later. Estimates show as many as 70 percent of claims are initially denied, but around three-quarters of claims that go through the appeals process are later approved.

The faults of the system’s decision-making processes only highlight the need to have a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer by your side if you are considering applying for benefits or have a claim that was denied in the past. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our attorneys know how to navigate the Social Security Disability system, all while answering your questions each step of the way. So call us anytime to discuss what we can do for you and your Social Security Disability benefit claim.

Work History and Social Security Disability Eligibility

by Staff | May 19th, 2014

A disabled worker must have put have earned enough while working to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. But what type of work history do you need to be eligible for benefits?

The answer to this question can be complex. An individual seeking Social Security Disability eligibility must not only have worked a certain length of time, but also recently enough to collect assistance through the program.

In order to determine an individual has worked long enough, the Social Security Administration uses a credit system. For example, for every $1,200 in income a claimant earns in 2014, they will receive one credit. Typically, a claimant must accumulate 40 credits—with 20 being earned in the last 10 years—in order to qualify for benefits.

The amount of time an individual must have worked is also affected by the claimant’s age. Younger individuals may qualify for benefits with fewer credits.  For instance, a person who is younger than 24 years of age may qualify for benefits with only 6 credits accumulated over the past 3 years.

These rules highlight just how confusing the Social Security Disability system can be. They also show the importance of having a qualified Social Security Disability attorney by your side when filing for benefits.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our legal staff can help your questions while walking you through each step of the application process. Just call (866) 684-7216 or fill out a free online form on our website.

SSA Continues Testing of New Social Security Disability Processing Systems

by Staff | September 9th, 2013

September 9, 2013

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently facing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of claims for Social Security Disability Benefits that are awaiting decisions.  Experts say that one of the reasons for the massive quagmire of claims is the process that is being used to determine an approval or denial in each case.

The SSA is currently working to correct this issue though by extending testing on two separate models that could be used to determine if an individual’s claim for benefits should be approved. An article from the Federal Register explained the extension for the testing will run until September 26 of next year.

During that time, researchers will examine the advantages and problems with the “single decisionmaker test” and what is being referred to as the “prototype test”. The single decisionmaker process works by allowing the disability examiner to determine if an individual’s disability is worthy of benefits without the signature of a psychological or medical consultant. The prototype system utilizes a similar decision making process, while also implementing the elimination of the reconsideration review at the administrative level.

The testing will be conducted in 10 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, California, and New York.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin acknowledge the complexities involved with the approval process for Social Security Disability Benefits. The firm is here to help anyone who is considering applying for such benefits.