What percent of disability cases does Social Security approve?

One of the most common questions we are asked is what is the percentage of claims and cases does Social Security disability approve? Or, put another way, “What are my chances of winning?”

Social Security keeps very detailed (if somewhat obtuse) statistics which provide some very surprising answers. Continue reading What percent of disability cases does Social Security approve?

Social Security told to slow down decisions?

Do you think Social Security is working too fast processing Social Security disability claims. Someone apparently thinks so. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Damian Paletta reports:

Social Security judges and employees in Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona were among those instructed to set aside disability cases this week, with the slowdown allowing managers to boost their performance numbers for the coming fiscal year, which starts Monday.

Top officials, in a bid to meet goals to win promotions or thousands of dollars in bonuses, directed many employees to refrain from issuing decisions on cases until next week, according to judges and union officials.

How did Social Security judges respond? Continue reading Social Security told to slow down decisions?

Social Security Hearing Judge Approval Rates

New numbers have been released by Social Security providing the how may cases Social Security judges (Administrative Law Judges -ALJs) approve and deny by hearing office (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review – ODAR). The rates cover:

  • Total number of decision.
  • Full approvals.
  • Partially favorable approvals.
  • Denials.

Continue reading Social Security Hearing Judge Approval Rates

Appeals Council correcting technical errors

I was a the Colorado Bar Association Social Security CLE (Continuing Legal Education) program. One of the Judges stated during the presentation that the Social Security Appeals Council will begin correcting “technical errors.”

During the Q&A section, I had to ask whether this meant that the Appeals Council would begin approving more cases outright or if this would result in, effectively, “post hoc” fixing of Administrative Law Judges’ decisions.

The response was that this would not likely increase the number of approvals at the Appeals Council level and, again, this was designed to fix technical errors.

This is disconcerting as some of these “technical errors” might well result in sending cases back for another hearing. If the Appeals Council gets to correct errors that would otherwise lead to a second hearing, but now lead to affirming a denial, that just leaves claimant’s out in the cold.

How many Social Security disability applications are approved

Ever wonder what the Social Security disability approval rate is?

Vicki Johnson, Director of the Colorado Disability Determination Services office presented at the September 2010 Social Security CLE (continuing legal education) program and discussed the percent approved in Social Security disability cases.

Note: Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the part of Social Security that evaluates Social Security case for medical disabilities and makes the initial decision. Continue reading How many Social Security disability applications are approved

Do powerchairs cost as much as cars?

Mark E. Smith’s great blog Wheelchairjunkie.com, has a great article about powerchairs — a topic which combines two issues I am passionate about: disabilities and technology.

I have seen some amazing powerchairs, from a super speedy model with an Herman Miller Aeron chair, running circles around people at Sam’s club, to a Dean Kamen Segway filled with a small bench (!) at Whole Foods letting the rider sit much higher that in a traditional chair, aiding in shopping and interacting with people at a common height. It is exciting seeing the developments in this area. These advances create an expectation of more than just simple mobility but also freedom.

So, do powerchairs chairs really cost as much as a car? Continue reading Do powerchairs cost as much as cars?

Second National Hearing Center opens with more on the way


newspaperSocial Security has opened a National Hearing Center (NHC) in Albuquerque New Mexico. This is Social Security’s second NHC — a hearing office which only handles video hearings. 

Albuquerque initially will hear disability cases for Kansas City and Portland, Oregon — two of the most backlogged offices in the US. Social Security’s first NHC, located in Falls Church, Virginia, opened in December 2007 and has contributed to improve processing times in Atlanta, Georgia, Cleveland, Ohio and Flint, Michigan.

Read Social Security’s press release here.

The April 2009 NOSSCR Social Security Forum  notes that two additional NHC offices are planned for Chicago, Illinois in 2009 and in the Baltimore Maryland, in early 2010.

Email claims Social Security is voluntary and deductible

An email is making the rounds purporting to be a “history lesson” on Social Security for “young whipper snappers” who “weren’t taught or just didn’t know” the following truths about Social Security.  In case you doubt any of these, the email tells you “facts are facts.”

The email tells you:

  • Social Security is VOLUNTARY and has been since FDR set it up.
  • Participants would only have to pay 1% of their annual income.
  • The money put into Social Security would be deductible from the participant income taxes.
  • Money put into Social Security would go into Trust Fund and not the General Operating Fund.
  • Annuity payments to retirees would never be taxes as income.

OMG! Voluntary? One percent? Deductible?

IS THIS TRUE?!?! Continue reading Email claims Social Security is voluntary and deductible