The Social Security Disability program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is a federal program that provides financial assistance to certain people with disabilities. To qualify for the program, individuals must meet specific medical criteria, have paid Social Security taxes, and have worked long enough to be eligible. The disability benefit approval process can be very long and complicated. Delays in receiving approval prevent financial assistance from reaching disabled Americans who need it the most.
The SSA has been working to improve the long delays in processing, especially for applicants whose medical conditions obviously meet the disability criteria. In the past, all Social Security Disability claims were treated equally. Claims were processed in order of receipt, no matter how severe the disability. Someone suffering from a life-threatening disease was treated the same as someone with chronic back pain. After much public outcry, the agency introduced two fast-track processes to speed benefit decisions for those with the most severe disabilities.
- Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) uses computer technology to screen initial applications. The computer identifies the cases that have medical evidence readily available. If there is a high probability that the claim will be approved, the case is moved to the top of the priority list. The paperwork is expedited for faster approval.
- Compassionate Allowances (CAL) apply to particular medical conditions associated with extreme disability. Disability can be proven with only a minimum of objective medical evidence. There are 165 ailments on the CAL list. These conditions include cancers, neurological and immune system disorders. Like Quick Disability Determinations claims, these are also expedited.
The SSA instituted QDD and CAL in order to fast-track disability benefit claims for the most serious illnesses and injuries. Unfortunately, most claims still take more than 120 days for an initial decision. If a claim is denied, the appeals process can take more than one years. Applicants who hire an attorney often have a better chance of winning an appeal. Attorneys know the medical evidence required, the Social Security Disability laws, and the judges who hear the cases.
Are you disabled due to a serious illness or injury? If the SSA has denied your disability benefit application, contact a Social Security Disability attorney at Schmidt Kramer. Call us today at (717) 888-8888 for a free consultation.