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The unfortunate reality of the SSD process

A serious illness can redefine a person's life. He or she may no longer feel like him or herself, spend much time in receiving medical treatments and can no longer maintain a job. This can generate financial hardship, making it difficult to cover their basic living needs.

Whether you developed a work-related illness, carry a genetic disorder or other serious illness, a medical condition can make it challenging to enjoy life. It can become nearly impossible to do the things you once did on a regular basis, and sufferers may not be able to care for themselves. If the pain and suffering of the disease is not enough, he or she requires ongoing medical treatments that likely cause more pain and agony.

When a person suffers a debilitating illness, he or she can file for Social Security Disability benefits. While SSD benefits are proven to be helpful, the SSD process can be lengthy and applicants must wait and average of 100 days after their initial filing to hear a decision.

If an initial application is denied, which roughly 70 percent of all initial claims are, he or she will have to file for reconsideration. This could mean waiting another 60 days to get a decision on reconsideration. However, 85 to 90 percent of those filing for reconsideration are denied. So that means about 3 out of every 5 people filing for SSD have to wait about half a year to just hear that they are not approved for SSD benefits.

Nonetheless, denied applicants still have the option to request an appeal within 65 days of a denied reconsideration. The catch with this process is that it can take significantly longer. On average, an applicant waits 12 to 15 months from their initial filing to obtain a hearing.

While it might mean waiting a long time to obtain government benefits, many applicants continue through the appeals process because the resources provided by the SSD program are necessary for them. No matter what phase of the process you are in, it is important that you are aware of your rights and options every step of the way.

Source:, "The Unfortunate Reality Check for Social Security Disability," Mellissa Thompson, April 14, 2017

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