The Social Security Administration acknowledges that it has a backlog problem. In a recent report, it stated that thousands of SSDI applicants die each year while waiting to hear if their disability benefits claim has been approved.
A less publicized admission from Social Security is that SSDI applicants are three times as likely to get approval if they have a representative such as an attorney than those who file for benefits without representation.
Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that said that the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances Initiative (CAL) doesn’t have a systematical approval process. CAL is a fast-track claim approval process for people with certain very serious medical conditions.
Social Security basically relies on advocates to make the case that someone qualifies for CAL. By relying on advocates, however, the agency might well be overlooking those who have dire medical conditions but no advocate.
When trying to identify which claims might qualify for CAL, Social Security relies on software that searches for certain key words. Nevertheless, if a person has misspelled a word or omitted a particular word or phrase, they can be passed over for CAL inclusion.
GAO recommends that the Social Security Administration make it clearer to applicants which conditions can qualify a person for CAL. That change will help claimants more readily understand if they are eligible for fast-track approval.
If you want representation for your SSDI claim, contact an attorney experienced in preparing and submitting disability claims and also experienced in helping clients navigate the Social Security disability appeals process.