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Richard A. Gutstadt, P.C.
Northern California SSI & SSDI Appeals
510-992-6934

Don't die waiting on Social Security Disability benefits

If you have a debilitating illness or injury that prevents you from working, then you should submit your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) quickly. No, the program isn't going away or running out of funds. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for denying applications though. Data released by the federal agency last month shows that many people are dying while waiting to find out if they'll get benefits too.

Most Americans are required to make contributions to the SSA every pay period, so they'll be eligible for benefits later in life. Employees become eligible for SSD based on time working as well. We're supposed to be able to draw from the fund if we ever become too hurt or sick that we can't work. Many people don't realize until they need these benefits just how hard it is to qualify for them though.

For someone to qualify for SSD, they must have worked enough creditable time over a certain number of years to qualify to receive benefits. A potential California recipient must also have what the SSA classifies as a disabling condition. It must either be terminal or expected to last more than a year. Provided that an applicant meets this criterion, they can submit an application for benefits.

Applications for SSD often are denied on an applicant's first attempt to qualify for benefits. If this happens, then they can reapply for benefits once again. If their request is rejected, then their only hope is to have a successful hearing.

The initial consideration of the application, the reconsideration of it and then waiting for a hearing to be scheduled can take more than a year and a half to all happen. This is one of the reasons that, as of May of 2019, more than 675,000 people were waiting to hear back on their applications. In the past few years, as many as 2,200 individuals have died while awaiting a decision.

Between 2000 and 2010, SSA data shows that 28% of first-time SSD applications were approved. That approval rate dropped to 22% between 2007 and 2016.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting your application approved on the first try, then you should consult with an attorney here in Oakland. It's important that they understand that you deserve the benefits that you paid for and that they know how to help you get them.

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