Michalk, Beatty & Alcozer, L.P.


Report: attorneys have positive impact on SSD applications

Many residents of the Kileen and Fort Hood area unfortunately are struggling with illnesses or injuries that keep them out of work. Many of these Texans want to work but cannot, and they have to eventually look for other means of financial support. Oftentimes, they may turn to the disability programs of the Social Security Administration in hopes of qualifying for monthly SSD benefits.

It is no secret that, more often than not, a person's initial application for disability benefits will get denied, even if in reality they are an excellent candidate for benefits. It is simply difficult for the first person who looks at the application to get a full picture of a person's life, and the tendency is for that person to deny the application as a result.

Even among administrative law judges, who review these denials, the decision-making is often inconsistent to the point that applicants are better off going in front of one judge as opposed to another.

Specifically, a recent government report found that the chances of an applicant getting accepted for benefits on an administrative appeal could vary by more than 45 percent depending on who was hearing the case. Some judges tended to award benefits over 4 out of 5 times, while others awarded as little as under 4 out of 10 times.

The level of inconsistency among judges has actually improved over the last several years as the result of better training and oversight of administrative law judges. However, the one constant that also seemed to be present was that applicants who were represented by someone, including an attorney, were much more likely, nearly 3 times so, to get awarded benefits than those who pursued their administrative appeals on their own.

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