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How a Disability Claim is Processed

Posted on:1/22/2012
In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act. The Act also provided for a Social Security Board which would later be replaced by the Social Security Administration.


In 1972, Congress sought a consolidation of public assistance to the needy aged, blind, and disabled. The Supplemental Security Income program provided that aid to these needy persons would be taken from general tax revenues and would be administered by the SSA.

If the definition of disability and its accompanying rationale were not confusing enough, the disability claimant must pursue a complicated procedural journey in order to obtain benefits. This trek will involve State and Federal employees, and, of course, the name of the game is endurance and persistence. The claimant, while notified of his or her options at any point in the process, will certainly not be encouraged to continue the effort. The SSA is so overwhelmed by cases that it seems unable to remember that it is human beings it is "processing."

There are four essential steps in the claims procedure: (1) initial stage, (2) reconsideration, (3) hearing, and (4) Appeals Council. As the claimant begins this adventure, it should be realized that the burden of proof belongs to the "moving party,"  meaning that by asserting a claim, the individual holds the responsibility of convincing SSA that he or she is disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. The SSA will be looking for "substantial evidence" that the claimant is unable to perform his or her former work due to a current disability.
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How Does Social Security Define Disability? Disability Determination Disability Application Process
Disability Denial and Reconsideration Appealing the disability Denial Decision Medicare and Medicaid
What is Social Security Disability? SSDI SSI
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