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West Virginia Social Security Blog

What to know about application acceptance rates

Individuals in West Virginia who have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from working or making a gainful living may file for disability benefits. However, the likelihood of an initial application being accepted is relatively low. Typically, about 35 percent of applicants are approved on their first try. After an initial application is denied, an individual has the right to appeal, and he or she has 65 days to do so.

The actual deadline is 60 days after an application is denied plus 5 days for the appeal to arrive by mail. In most cases, an appeal is successful at the administrative hearing level. However, to get to that point, it is necessary to go through the reconsideration stage. Usually about 10 to 15 percent of cases are approved at this point. For most, it is simply a box to check on their way to seeing a judge.

Seeking disability benefits for COPD

You may have suspected there was a problem when you began having trouble completing simple tasks, such as shopping for groceries, mowing the grass or walking the dog. Perhaps you became short of breath, developed a cough that wouldn't go away or felt tired all the time. You may have chalked it up to your smoking habit, dust or fumes at work, or just getting older, but now your health may be getting even worse.

Getting dressed in the morning, finishing a meal or having a conversation may take longer because you have to keep stopping to catch your breath. You may have pain in your chest and feel exhausted all the time. When your doctor diagnosed you with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you realized your situation was very serious.

Representation and winning SSD hearings

People in West Virginia who apply for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits and who have to attend a hearing will have a better chance at being successful at the hearing if they have some form of representation. This is because the manner in which disability hearings are conducted is similar to how different types of court proceedings are done. In order to win their case, disability benefits claimants should have a strong case that is properly prepared and whose relevant positions and arguments are effectively presented.

In order to properly prepare for a hearing, a representative should begin to collect updated medical records, which will be examined to determine if the claimant's case can be bolstered. The records that are obtained will also be forwarded to the administrative law judge who will be making the ruling in the case.

Benefit applicants shouldn't downplay their pain

When applying for disability benefits in West Virginia, it's important to be honest about pain levels. By minimizing the pain or other impacts of a disability, it could be harder for an applicant to obtain benefits. Those who are required to participate in a consultative examination will be monitored by the doctor examining them throughout the entire process.

The consultative examination is a common step in the application process, and it is performed by a private physician despite the fact that the government pays for it. In some cases, a doctor will observe an applicant getting out of his or her car to determine the true extent of that person's impairment. What he or she sees will likely go into the report submitted to the examiner. It is also never a good idea to downplay symptoms when talking to a disability examiner on the phone.

Appeals could be key to success for SSDI applicants

People in West Virginia who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance often face an initial denial. This is true even for applicants who have serious disabilities and are currently unable to work. Since denials at the initial stage can be confusing, many are uncertain about the next steps to take. They may think that it is better to file a new application for benefits rather than to go through the appeals process on the denied claim. However, it is generally better to proceed with the appeal.

Applicants for SSDI benefits should keep in mind that up to 65 percent of all initial benefits applications are denied at the initial stage. When they file a new claim, they'll face those same odds the next time around. The same agency will evaluate the application under the same rules, and it is likely to produce exactly the same results. However, an appeal could provide greater hope. The first appeals stage may not lead to a positive outcome as 85 percent of applicants are rejected during the reconsideration stage.

What to know about receiving disability benefits

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits in West Virginia, it is necessary to show an inability to work for at least the next 12 months. However, this does not mean that applicants cannot work at all. Instead, they must stay below the substantially gainful activity level. Of course, merely not going to work for a period of time doesn't necessarily meet the threshold for obtaining benefits either.

Whether or not a person gets benefits depends on the results of an examination. An examiner will review a person's work and medical history to determine the severity of the physical or mental impairment. An examiner will also look to see if an individual could do any type of work despite the physical or mental issue. This may include any job that a person is suited for or any job that he or she has done in the past.

Does your anxiety disorder qualify you for SSDI?

Nearly everyone feels nervous and insecure in certain situations. Projects at work may invoke a healthy sense of urgency, and even a fear of failure can cause one to rise to the occasion. It is normal to feel anxious when speaking in front of an audience or entering a situation where you don't know anyone. However, you may be one of many in West Virginia for whom these feelings of anxiety, embarrassment and fear paralyze you to the point that you cannot function.

When you cannot control the thoughts of failure or dread that come to you in social situations, you may suffer from a mental illness known as social anxiety disorder. If your symptoms of SAD make it impossible for you to maintain gainful employment, you may want to seek assistance through Social Security Disability Insurance.

Filing a reconsideration appeal after an SSD denial

West Virginia residents who file for Social Security Disability benefits often face a lengthy process, even when they have serious disabilities that prevent them from working. At the initial stage, many viable disability benefits claims are denied. However, there is a process that applicants can follow to have their claim reconsidered and move forward in the process. The first step after an initial denial is the reconsideration appeal phase.

When an application for SSD benefits is denied, the applicant can go to the Social Security Administration website to file the reconsideration appeal online. If the applicant is represented by counsel, the attorney can submit the necessary paperwork to the local SSA office. The attorney will mail a copy of the appeal to the applicant, helping to provide a clear record that it was filed in a timely fashion. In addition, unrepresented people can contact a local office to have the appeal paperwork sent to their home addresses.

Understanding the odds of winning a SS disability claim

It's understandable for individuals in West Virginia seeking disability payments from Social Security to assume that the odds of winning a claim are low. However, many filers are unaware that there are different levels in the approval process where a claimant may win a case, even after initial denials. The approval rate of claims that reach a Social Security administrative law judge is more than 65 percent. Just 35 percent of initial filers are granted benefits while 10 to 15 percent win benefits after filing a reconsideration.

The lowest rate of approval for Social Security Disability claims is at the reconsideration level. This is the first level of appeal after an initial application has been denied. Other than having a different examiner look at all available evidence, the reconsideration process is the same as the initial claim assessment, which involves reviewing medical records and determining whether or not an individual is capable of making a living.

Disability for back pain hinges upon walking ability

Back pain afflicts almost everyone in West Virginia from time to time, but the Social Security Administration sets the bar high when making determinations about disability benefits for back pain. Benefits examiners want to see objective medical tests that document debilitating conditions. A person's ambulatory ability will factor in as well.

Disability could arise when a person cannot maintain a reasonable pace while walking around for periods of time necessary for daily activities. People who need walkers or crutches or who cannot navigate uneven surfaces might meet the criteria for disability.

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