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SSD backlogs and the role of advocacy in making a successful claim

As Americans, we live in a culture strongly committed to the principle of self-help. In bookstores, for example, self-help usually merits an entire section and is bulging with titles.

In the realm of Social Security disability, however, self-help has its limits. The application process is a complicated one. And it is often necessary to deal with initial rejection before being successful with an SSD claim. This is true both in Southeast Michigan and all around the country.

In our February 7 post, we wrote about a man who successfully appealed an initial rejection of his Social Security disability claim. It took 12 years, but the man's appeal finally succeeded. He would not have succeeded, however, with a committed attorney to make his case for him.

To be sure, there is no formal requirement that a Social Security disability claim be filed through an attorney. But the challenges involved in bringing such claims successfully are considerable.

In part, this is because backlogs are an increasing problem in applying for either Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Researchers at the Brookings Institution, a respected policy analysis organization, have recommended one way for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to begin addressing this.

By making strategic investments in administrative capacity, the SSA could reduce the backlog of claims awaiting administrative review. To be sure, Congress and the president continue to struggle to bring down the federal debt. The pressure to do that is relentless. Still, cutting corners on having enough staff to review disability claims in a timely manner is penny-wise but pound foolish.

Source: "An Evidence-Based Path to Disability Insurance Reform," Brookings Institution, 2-26-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in Southeast Michigan. To learn more about our practice, please visit our main Social Security disability page.

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