Could a Push for Transparency in the SSD Review Process Open Door for Applicants?
June 8th, 2019 by Attorney John Colvin
You’ve spent your whole life working, and suddenly you can’t due to illness or injury. You are in pain, your income stream has stopped, yet your medical bills are piling up and you still have a family to support. This is when Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are supposed to kick in, providing a safety net for when you need it most.
The reality for most Americans applying for SSDI, however, is a frustrating ordeal involving denials, roadblocks, mountains of paperwork, and little transparency or insight into how their claim is being processed.
If you are at any point in the process of applying for SSDI benefits, you need a social security disability lawyer working to get your claim approved. Attorney John Colvin knows how to gather the important documentation and make sure your claim is processed as fairly and expeditiously as possible.
Nationally, 66% of claims are denied. In Tennessee, the denial rate is 72%, the highest in the country. This has little to do with the legitimacy of the cases. As reported in a USA Today Network -Tennessee Investigation, doctors hired by the state to review cases are paid per claim, a system that incentivizes rushed, slipshod work and wrongful denials. This saves the Social Security Administration (SSA) money, but it can be tragic for individual claimants as their bills and debt continue to pile up without relief. If you file an appeal, you join a backlog of 720,000 other people waiting for their claim to be heard.
In an effort to better understand how the SSDI system works and claims are processed, the USA Today Network submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for doctor performance data by state. The shocking response was a quote of $2.3 million for the information.
According to the SSA, compiling the data would require 72,100 hours — or close to 60 full-time employees working on the request for a year, without vacation or holidays off.
The fact that the SSA cannot gather data efficiently raises troubling questions about its ability to oversee claims and whether they’re being processed fairly and consistently. It’s important for claimants and news organizations to keep pressure on the agency to supply the information that should be publicly available. Only then will applicants have confidence that they will not be wrongly denied.
While transparency from the SSA is still lacking, the information revealed in the USA Today Network article has become powerful evidence for people appealing their denials in Tennessee. And, according to one attorney interviewed, judges have been receptive.
When you file for SSDI benefits, it’s important to get it right the first time. Initial claims may take months to process, and if you are denied, an appeal is a lengthy and complicated process in itself. Meanwhile, your expenses are only going up.
Tennessee & North Alabama Social Security disability lawyer John R. Colvin will make sure your claim is solid, well-documented, and submitted the right way. Call today for a free consultation and put his years of experience with the SSDI appeal process to work for you.