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.
Typically, the only way the odds of winning during reconsideration can improve is if there is new medical evidence or if circumstances have changed since the initial claim was filed and denied. In order for a claim to be presented to an administrative law judge, a request for disability must be denied during a reconsideration appeal. However, it's cases that make it to the administrative law judge level that have the best odds of resulting in a win.
Because of the many complex steps involved when seeking SSD benefits, it may can be helpful to work with a lawyer familiar with disability requirements and claim processes. For many individuals filing a claim, legal assistance provided after denials may lead to successful results. An attorney might also be able to provide more thorough and compelling responses should examiners request additional information or clarification of certain medical or work-related issues.