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.
The hearing level is the only time when an applicant sees the person deciding his or her case. Furthermore, the judge is the only person with the power to make a ruling that he or she thinks is appropriate. During the initial application and reconsideration appeal, evidence in a case is reviewed at the same office, and the evidence is judged by the same standard both times.
An inability to work could make it harder to pay bills or provide for a person’s family. Those who can’t work may be entitled to disability benefits either temporarily or on a permanent basis. This is generally determined based on a person’s ability to earn a living or whether the disability is expected to improve. An attorney may be able to explain the process of obtaining benefits and how to file an appeal.