Manning, S.C. (PRWEB) August 17, 2013
New reports indicating a high approval rate for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit appeals by administrative law judges should offer hope for those who have had their application for such benefits initially denied by the Social Security Administration, South Carolina disability lawyer Ricci Land Welch said today.
“Applying for SSD benefits is a frustrating, time-consuming process in which most initial applicants at first face rejection,” said Land Welch of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., an SSD firm based in Manning, South Carolina. “But this latest news of a higher rate of appeal approvals should encourage applicants for SSD benefits to keep fighting to get the benefits they need and deserve.”
Welch cited a recent Associated Press article that reported that administrative law judges have approved more than half of the cases decided this fiscal year, according to Social Security data. The June 27 article carried the headline “Judges tell lawmakers they are pressured to approve Social Security disability claims.”
So far this budget year, the vast majority of judges have approved benefits in more than half the cases they have decided, even though they were reviewing applications that had typically been rejected twice by state agencies, the AP article reported.
The article said that of the 1,560 judges who have decided at least 50 cases since October, 195 judges approved benefits in at least 75 percent of their cases, according to the data analyzed by congressional investigators.
A decision by an administrative law judge comes after two rejections in the SSD application process. Applicants can appeal to an administrative judge if their application has been rejected twice at the local office level – first after the initial application and then after an appeal to the local office. Administrative law judges are employed by the Social Security Administration.
“The key thing for SSD benefits applicants to remember is not to give up,” Welch said. “Applications for disability benefits have an enormous initial denial rate. But administrative judges seem to be doing the right thing, looking closely at the cases and making sure deserving applicants are approved.”
SSD benefits are meant to help people who have disabling conditions that are expected to last a year or more and prevent them from working.
The Social Security Administration has been under pressure to cut its backlog of appeals claims. The decisions from the administrative law judges have been part of reducing that backlog. According to the Associated Press article, the average processing time for an appeals hearing is 375 days, down from 512 in 2007.
The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee has begun an investigation of the high approval rates posted by some of the administrative law judges.
Welch cautioned that the Congressional investigation could lead to tightening the review process for obtaining SSD benefits, making it more important than ever for applicants to have the help of an experienced SSD lawyer, especially during the appeals process.
“The Congressional investigation might make a cumbersome process even more difficult,” Welch said. “That’s why it’s crucial to have a qualified SSD lawyer like those at Land, Parker & Welch to guide you through the process and make sure valid claims are approved. Our attorneys are well-versed in the procedures required to gain approval for SSD and can assist you with what can be a confusing and intimidating appeals process.”
About Land, Parker & Welch, P.A.
Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., is an established law firm with deep roots in Manning and surrounding South Carolina communities, such as Sumter and Kingstree. The firm’s primary focus areas are workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims. Other practice areas include car accidents and other personal injury claims, criminal defense, estate planning, family law and probate. Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. is a family-run law firm whose attorneys have 120 years of combined legal experience. We strive to provide that same sense of family camaraderie to each person who walks through our doors. The firm’s office is located at 29 South Mill Street, Manning, SC 29102. To learn more, call Land, Parker & Welch at 803-435-8894 or fill out the firm’s online contact form.