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February 2018 Archives

Benefits claims can take months to process

West Virginia residents may feel that too much time passes between applying for disability benefits and receiving a response. If an application needs to be heard by an administrative law judge, it could take two years for a hearing to take place. As a general rule, a decision can take about three to four months to reach. These wait times could increase as the number of applications surges because of the aging workforce.

Why benefit applications may take awhile to process

West Virginia residents may find that it takes weeks or months for a decision regarding their application for Social Security Disability benefits. It may be frustrating to know that there is no deadline for when an application must be processed. However, it is also important to know that those who review applications are assessed on their ability to process claims in a timely manner. Therefore, the lack of a timely decision is generally not due to lazy claim reviewers.

A dark cloud once again descends on coal miners

Coal miners here in West Virginia and surrounding states have always faced grave risks in their job. You and your employer probably take significant steps to prevent injuries due to events such as cave-ins and explosions. Modern technology and equipment may help make your job safer, but researchers recently discovered that an old danger has resurfaced that you probably didn't count on having to face.

Past work can be used to assess disability benefits applications

When West Virginia workers with disabilities apply for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, their application goes through a series of assessments in order to determine their current disability and eligibility for benefits. The examiner who reviews each application uses a systematic series of steps to analyze the benefits claim; as a part of this process, the applicant's medical records are studied to establish their mental and physical capabilities. This is used to measure the applicant's residual functional capacity, known as an RFC rating.

New VA program could speed up appeals for veterans' disability

The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program launched recently by the Department of Veterans Affairs could end the prolonged delays inflicted on veterans appealing a denial of benefits. Currently, about 340,000 cases, including some from West Virginia, have stalled within the agency, but legislative reforms have prompted the VA to reduce wait times. In a trial run for the new program, case processing averaged 37 days whereas the traditional appeals system imposed waits in excess of 1,500 days. Among the cases reviewed under the new approach, 61 percent of veterans succeeded in their appeals, which represented an improvement upon the 25 percent success rate experienced within the old system.

The consequences of not filing an appeal on time

If a Social Security disability applicant in West Virginia or elsewhere around the country has his or her application or appeal denied, he or she has 60 days to respond. There is also a five-day grace period to allow for a response to be mailed out. Therefore, the appeal needs to be sent to the correct location within 65 days of a denial notice. However, it is possible for an appeal to be accepted even if it is not received in a timely manner.

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