Monday, April 27, 2009
New National Hearing Center opened in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
7:41 pm edt
With Social Security's increase funding they have taken steps to improve the backlog of Social Security Disability
cases at the hearing stage. This new office should be particularly helpful to those in New Mexico but this office will also
serve the rest of the country by video hearing. Commissioner Astrue also plans to use the new money to invest in technologies
that will improve service. The first National Hearing Center was opened in Falls Church Virginia in 2007 to help with increasing
backlogs in Atlanta Georgia, Cleveland Ohio, and Flint Michigan. The new national hearing Center will help reduce the backlogs
particularly in New Mexico, Kansas City and Portland Oregon. "With Senator Bingaman's leadership, Social Security
has received additional funding to hire and fill jobs in New Mexico and throughout the nation, as well as invest in technologies
that improve service," Commissioner Astrue said. "This funding is crucial to our efforts to handle the increased
workloads resulting from the economic downturn as well as the aging of the baby boom generation. Our employees are making
positive strides toward driving down the hearing backlog and providing prompt service to the public. With sustained
support, I am confident we can successfully address these challenges."
It is my hope that the new funding
dedicated to programs like this will help reduce the extremely long wait times that many claimants are experiencing waiting
for Social Security Disability hearing.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Speeding up your Social Security Disability claim.
This post is not about special tricks that help you get a faster SSDI or SSI decision. This is about what you can do to make
sure you do everything you can to get a timely decision on your social security disability case. First, you should make sure
your actions are not slowing down your case. If Social Security ask you for information make sure to get the information to
them as fast as possible. Do not count on SSA to get your medical evidence. This is particularly true, when you want a report
or functional assessment from your doctor. SSA rarely sends for reports or functional assessments from your treating doctors.
You can expect SSA to only make minimal effort in getting your medical records. Take it upon yourself to make sure you have
all the favorable evidence from your doctors that you need to win your case. Second, every stage of the process is an opportunity
for you to win your case so do not take any of the stages for granted. If you have done alot of research you will know that
the denial rate at the reconsideration stage is anywhere between 80 and 90%. However, the main reason for this high denial
rate, in my opinion is, because most people do not add any new medical evidence between getting their first denial and their
decision at reconsideration. When you get your denial at application it will tell you what medical records they have reviewed.
Look at this evidence and see what medical evidence they did not have when they made this first decision. Now that you know
what is missing you can take it upon yourself to go out and get this evidence. Third, if you are at the hearing stage it can
take anywhere from one to two years and sometimes more to get a hearing. You will get a copy of your file at this stage of
the process. Take the opportunity to review your file and see why they have denied your claim. Also, review the medical evidence
and determine what might be missing from the file that could help you win. As soon as you have all the evidence in that proves
your case, you may give yourself a chance to win before you even have a hearing date. The hearing offices have recently begun
doing a more comprehensive prescreening of cases at hearing. I have found a significant increase in cases being won at the
hearing stage before a hearing. If your case is particularly strong you can request a prehearing fully favorable decision.
This is best done with the help of a lawyer who can send in a brief as to why you should be granted a fully favorable decision
on the record without need for hearing. If you have a lawyer you can ask them to do this for you, but it is usually only done
when the lawyer feels the case is very strong and all the evidence is in. This is because if a lawyer did this on every case
the hearing office would simply ignore them. If a lawyer is selective and only chooses to do this for cases that have a high
probability of success the hearing office will give strong consideration to those cases sent in by the attorney.
8:04 pm edt
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Updates on my Social Security Disability website.
This post is another update to some recent changes made to the website. I was reviewing my website and realized that I do
not have a page on Social Security disability and cancer. Quite an oversight by me. So I added a page that explains how Social
Security handles these types of cases. You can find this new page by clicking on other medical conditions in the navigation
bar and then clicking on cancer. You will find a link to the appropriate medical listings of impairments section and a list
of the cancers on Social Security's compassionate allowance list which allows for a much quicker favorable determination
for those who have a cancer on that list. I have not had as much time as I would like to finish updating the statistics
for all the states on denial rates and wait times. But I will be getting to this in the near future. I also have a Social
Security disability conference coming up and will post anything that may be of interest to you that I learn while attending.
I will also be working on some new pages for my website with the focus on specific medical conditions and how they are handled
in SSDI and SSI cases. As always, if there is any subjects you would like to see covered in my website that you cannot find
feel free to send me an e-mail and suggest any topics.
10:33 pm edt