A union representing the administrative law judges who decide disability benefit cases has sued the Social Security Administration over the case quotas the judges are required to meet. The lawsuit alleges that the quotas, which require each judge to decide between 500 and 700 cases per year, violate the independence of the judges as well as the due process rights of applicants.
In our previous post we discussed the initial process that individuals in California who suffer from mental disorders need to follow to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. As previously discussed, many times a Mental Status Examination is necessary for an SSD application filed on behalf of an individual with a mental disorder. If this is the case, the applicant will be contacted by a consulting examiner for an assessment meeting.
Social Security Disability benefits provide income to those who are unable to work. In most cases recipients of Social Security Disability benefits will receive a monthly disability payment in the form of cash and sometimes there is the possibility of enrollment in the Medicaid health insurance program.
If you are already receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you may be subjected to periodic reviews of your ability to work. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that you are exceeding its income level limits after conducting a work review, the agency may take action to terminate, suspend or reduce your monthly disability benefits.
Last week, we shared a few things you should not do after your Social Security Disability claim has been denied. Although the prospect of an SSD appeal can be very daunting, it is important to stay focused and dedicated so that you are able to receive the Social Security Disability benefits that you need.
According to recent data from the Social Security Administration, there were nearly 3.4 million Social Security Disability claims made in fiscal year 2011, about two-thirds of which were initially denied. In turn, applicants made nearly 900,000 SSD appeals to the hearing level during the year. It is unknown how many of those appeals were successful, but one thing is clear: for many SSD applicants, an appeal is a necessary step in receiving those much-needed disability benefits.
After a series of articles indicating that the Social Security Disability appeals process was significantly less than consistent, the Social Security Administration has reportedly commissioned an independent review of the system. The focus of the review will be to determine whether SSD administrative law judges award disability benefits to applicants who do not deserve them, and deny the applications of people who legitimately qualify for benefits.
Back in June, we wrote about a Social Security Administration judge who resigned from his position after the SSA launched an investigation into his high approval rate for Social Security Disability appeals. Now, the state's U.S. attorney has begun to investigate whether the administrative law judge received any improper payments in exchange for awarding SSD benefits to applicants who should not have qualified for them.
Last week, we began an in-depth look into the new procedures implemented into the Social Security Disability review process in the federal Social Security Administration office in Baltimore. In an effort to reduce SSD application and appeal wait times and backlogs, SSA officials are now requiring doctors to take all cases they are assigned, even if they are completely unfamiliar with the applicant's disability or ailment.
Earlier this week, we wrote about the Social Security Administration office in Baltimore, Maryland, which recently lost about one-third of its disability reviewers after agency officials essentially instructed doctors to work faster for less money. Although that was likely difficult to stomach, the tipping point for most of the doctors who quit or were fired for failing to comply with the new procedures was the fact they would be forced to make decisions about applicants with disabilities or ailments with which they were completely unfamiliar.