It seems popular now to criticize Social Security disability benefits. From the Associated Press to 60 Minutes, critics allege the system is too lax. Of course there are isolated examples of abuse, like the New York public employees who’ve allegedly defrauded the system, but even those suspects are innocent until they’re proven guilty. In fact, the charge that the Social Security disability benefits system is widely abused is a charge simply not based on the facts.
In fiscal year 2000, for example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) received just fewer than 2 million claims for disability. Administrative law judges heard more than 433,000 claims that year but approved just over 250,000. In fiscal year 2012, little had changed. The SSA received over 3 million claims for disability benefits. Since 2000, the population has aged, and more workers are eligible for benefits because more women have entered the workforce. Administrative law judges approved disability benefits for only 347,000 claimants in fiscal year 2012. Even so, Social Security’s Appeal Council reversed 20 percent of those decisions, and federal courts discovered legal or factual error in 6,900 other claims.
When people apply for Social Security disability benefits, their petitions are initially reviewed by state offices, which reject most claims. If your claim is rejected, you can appeal to an administrative law judge, but the hearing process now takes an average of 373 days. The system is not too lax; in fact, the system is unnecessarily difficult for the many Americans whose disabilities claims are legitimate – disabled Americans who need their rightful benefits now.
That’s why disabled persons in California need help from an experienced California Social Security disability attorney. If you have become disabled and are unable to work for any reason, hiring a good disability lawyer dramatically increases the chances that you will be awarded benefits. If you are applying to receive Social Security disability benefits, or if you’re disabled and only wondering if you qualify, speak with an experienced Social Security disability attorney as quickly as possible.