Texas Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer Says Report of SSDI and SSI Claims Approved Without Review Does not Indicate Easier Path for Applicants

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Don Cotton of The Bob Richardson Law Firm says closer scrutiny of Social Security disability benefit applications is likely after publicity of Congressional subcommittee's report.

Texas personal injury lawyer, SSD attorney, SSI lawyer, Austin car accident lawyer, Waco personal injury lawyer

Austin Social Security disability lawyer Don Cotton

This glitch in the SSD applications process is limited, according to reports, and we don't see it as an indication that any claim submitted will automatically be approved for benefits.

Texas Social Security disability attorney Don Cotton said today that a Congressional report indicating a backlog of applications has resulted in some Social Security disability benefits claims being approved without review should not be seen as a boon to benefit applicants.

“This glitch in the SSD applications process is limited, according to reports, and we don't see it as an indication that any claim submitted will automatically be approved for benefits,” said Cotton, who practices with The Bob Richardson Law Firm in Austin.

“Social Security disability benefits applicants will do best if they submit an honest and complete claims application,” the veteran attorney added.

The Republican staff of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported recently that Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs), who decide Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, are dealing with such a backlog of applications that some have approved claims without reviewing them.

Out of 300 approved SSD applications reviewed, more than one-fourth had insufficient, contradictory or incomplete evidence of the applicant’s disability, the subcommittee said. The sample looked at 100 applications from each of three states, Virginia, Alabama and Oklahoma. No Texas SSD claims were included.

The ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, said he expects to uncover similar problems when denied claims are reviewed. "I think you could flip a coin for anybody that came before the Social Security commission for disability and get it right just as often as the [judges] do," Coburn said.

Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle said “a small number of judges” did not conduct proper hearings or require proper documentation before approving SSDI or SSI benefits claims, a Washington Post report said.

Social Security judges are expected to rule on at least 500 cases a year, but one judge has decided an average of 1,800 cases a year for three straight years, according to the Post article.

“Besides the integrity of most administrative law judges in the Social Security system, we would expect that the publicity generated by this report will result in greater scrutiny of SSD claims going forward, not less,” Cotton said. “This is another reason why claim applications should be as accurate as possible when they are submitted.”

Social Security programs that provide disability benefits require a variety of personal, occupational and medical information from applicants to determine whether they qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

The Bob Richardson Law Firm helps Texas residents apply for Social Security disability and other governmental benefits, Cotton said.

“Social Security benefits attorneys at The Bob Richardson Law Firm review claim applications for clients to make sure they’re complete,” Cotton said. “We also assist clients with appeals if their claim has been denied or a benefit that was approved is not appropriate.

“More importantly, as our clients' SSDI or SSI claims move forward, we provide additional advice and assistance as it becomes necessary to ensure that the disabled people we are working for obtain a benefit that fits their needs.”

About The Bob Richardson Law Firm

The Bob Richardson Law Firm is a highly respected Texas personal injury and Social Security disability law firm. The firm is dedicated to providing skilled and professional legal services to clients in cases involving car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, drunk driving accidents, construction accidents, workplace accidents and slip-and-fall accidents as well as representation to those seeking benefits for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The firm features offices in Austin and Waco and assists clients throughout Round Rock, Georgetown, Killeen, Temple, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Taylor, Belton and surrounding Texas communities. The firm’s principal office is located at 812 San Antonio St., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78701 (local phone (512) 472-5100). To learn more about The Bob Richardson Law Firm, call (800) 880-5100 or use the firm’s online form.

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