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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rationale for the denial of disability application

In its natural course, disability applications are slow. This is because the examiners have no deadlines within which to decide disability cases. No wonder applicants get irritated, and frustrated with the process.

When an initial application is denied, applicants are advised to file a request for reconsideration. More often than not, requests are denied for the second time. In case of denial, the next step would be filing a request for disability hearing.

These steps seem easy but in reality it takes a lot of patience to keep up with. It could be extra frustrating to know that majority of requests for appeals are also denied.

The question now is if appeals are denied then why would applicants even bother to file one?

A request for reconsideration is required before a claimant could request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). In short, a denial of a request for reconsideration is a prerequisite to a request for a hearing with the ALJ. It is nothing but a mere a stepping stone to yet another level - hearing with ALJ.

The thing is the processing for the original application and that of the reconsideration appeal are only separated by weeks. Even if both are handled by different examiners, most likely the decision in the original application would be adopted in the reconsideration appeal. This is why most rejected original applications are also denied on appeals.

In reality, applicants do not get fair chance in appealing their case. This is because the same agency decides with the appeal and reconsideration. It would be unlikely on their part to overturn their previous decision.

The real justice comes at a disability hearing level. At this level, the Social Security Administration no longer handles the case. It is the administrative law judge who decides on the matter.

Fairness comes in this level because applicants get to see the judge. They can also hire a disability attorney to explain before the judge why they are entitled to benefits.