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People should appeal durational denials of disability benefits

A durational denial by the Social Security Administration represents a decision based on the expectation that an applicant will regain function within 12 months. Applicants in California who were denied disability benefits based on this assumption should launch an appeal because disability examiners do not necessarily make accurate predictions about a person's chance of recovery.

Although application examiners have access to medical professionals at their regional offices, they do not possess formal medical training. Their decisions could be based on beliefs or even biases instead of concrete facts. These examiners regularly deny applicants who have no realistic expectation of recovering within 12 months. Applicants with serious mental disabilities also have been rejected. Examples of examiners denying people with traumatic injuries are also common.

When these durational denials happen, the decisions were based in some way on the belief that the applicants would regain the ability to perform gainful employment in less than a year. This decision could be contested during the appeals process. At times, a person must persist until granted a hearing with an administrative law judge. A judge could approve benefits after hearing evidence about the extent of the person's disability.

A person who is unable to work due to physical or mental problems could seek the representation of an attorney. Extensive medical records need to be sent in with an application for Social Security Disability, and a lawyer could prepare this paperwork. This service could provide significant relief to a disabled person who might find the application process too burdensome. An attorney's familiarity with the disability bureaucracy might prevent delays and denials. With legal support, an applicant might stay on track and complete the necessary physical and vocational assessments.

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