It is not unusual for California residents to see their reconsiderations for Social Security Disability denied. Records show that just 35 percent of people who apply for disability benefits are approved. As a result, individuals whose disability claims were not approved are forced to consider whether they want to go through the Social Security appeal process to obtain the disability benefits they need.
California residents can be awarded disability benefits when the Social Security Administration determines that they are no longer able to perform gainful work in a substantial way. Disability claims are evaluated using a five-step process. The SSA first eliminates applicants who are still working and then examines medical records and other supporting evidence to determine if the applicant has a medically verifiable mental or physical impairment.
When California applicants are denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at the first stage of the process, they have the right to file an appeal. After a decision is made on a disability claim, applicants have a 60-day period in which to seek an appeal. This period begins with the date the notice was issued, so there are an extra five days to cover the mailing time before the notice reached the applicant. In order for an appeal to be considered timely, it must arrive at Social Security office on or before the 65th day from the notice of denial.
California applicants may go through a lengthy process with extended waiting periods after applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Even though these benefits may be crucial for a person unable to work due to disabilities and injuries, it can take a very long time to wind through the appeals stages, especially after an initial denial. Still, many applicants are surprised when they arrive at the final stage of their appeals only to find themselves at a very short hearing.
The process faced by California applicants for Social Security Disability benefits can often be difficult and arduous. Many deserving claimants are denied benefits and receive a denial letter at the initial stages of their application, even if they are later approved. When people receive a notice of disapproved claim after filing for benefits, the letter will generally state that the applicant is not disabled according to the definitions used by the Social Security Administration for these benefits.
A California resident who has no health insurance may not have medical records to submit when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. In such a scenario, an applicant would need to attend a consultative examination. These exams are designed to measure the physical or mental impairment a person may face. However, the doctor that performs the exam may not have the experience needed to treat a person's specific ailment.
California residents and others who have their disability benefit case heard by a judge have a 65 percent success rate in having their claims approved. While many cases do go to the administrative hearing level, there is a chance that a claim will be approved sooner. Roughly half of applicants receive a favorable outcome in their cases at either the initial application or reconsideration stages.
Back pain can make California patients' lives miserable and make it painful or impossible to return to work. As a result, many sufferers may apply for Social Security Disability benefits based on their back pain. However, both applicants and former disability examiners have noted that people whose applications are based on back and spine conditions often face problems being approved for disability benefits. The disability impairment listings used by the Social Security Administration include back and spine problems, but the criteria listed can often be difficult to meet.
As with any other court proceeding, being prepared and making strong arguments makes it easier to win a disability benefit case. When California residents have an attorney or other representation, it makes it easier to prepare for a case. One of the things that a representative will do prior to a hearing is gather as much evidence as possible to bolster a person's claim of being physically or mentally disabled.
California residents may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits even if their mental or physical disability may substantially improve in the future. However, they will need to show that they are totally disabled to receive benefits. This means that an individual cannot obtain employment that will allow him or her to make more than the substantial gainful activity amount for at least one year.