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House report addresses Social Security disability system

SSD benefits are generally highly important to the New Jersey residents who become disabled and need the income to make ends up. Unfortunately, having a claim for Social security disability approved is not guaranteed, and many people have to go through several steps-that can sometimes take years-before their benefits are approved. This lengthy adjudication process and the high number of initially denied claims is one of the key problems with the SSD system. An additional problem is the constant worry that the funds will soon run out.

A recent report by the House oversight committee links the risk of insufficient funds to the "gross incompetence" of certain judges at the Social Security Administration. The report notes that some SS judges merely rubber-stamp claims for benefits at the appeals stage because they are more focused on quantity over quality than preserving the authenticity of the system. The report indicated that an average SSD benefits recipient receives approximately $300,000 in his or her lifetime, so claims that are wrongly approved cost the system and the taxpayers supporting the system a great deal of money.

This article touches on of the frustrating aspects of the SSD benefits application process: the high rate of initial denials. Disabled individuals who worked a sufficient amount of time and paid into the system and who can demonstrate a qualifying disability are eligible for benefits. These people should receive the benefits they paid for during their working years. However, the majority of initial claims or applications are denied, preventing or delaying applicants from receiving the benefits they need.

After an applicant is denied, he or she has the chance to file an appeal and request an administrative hearing. It is at this stage that many applicants seek out the assistance of an attorney, having already been denied initially. The fact that many claims initially denied are approved on appeal does not necessarily signify a problem with the SS judges but instead may reveal how effective it can be to have the assistance of an experienced attorney and the opportunity to personally present a claim.

Source: Washington Times, "House Oversight report: Social Security judges could be wasting billions in disability appeals," Tom Howell Jr., Dec. 18, 2014

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