It is common knowledge that applying for Social Security Disability is not an easy process. Any kind of mistake made on the application or missing information can lead to a denial and a lengthy appeal. Currently less than half of all applications for SSD benefits are approved and a newly proposed rule could make it even more difficult for people in Illinois to receive approval.
Submission of medical evidence
People who apply for SSD must submit medical documentation which supports their claim of disability. However, the SSA announced in the February Federal Register that it is seeking to create a new rule that requires applicants to submit all medical evidence related to their condition. This includes information that does not support the claim of disability. For example, if a person with a mental health illness has seen a therapist that does not believe the illness impairs their ability to work, the person would have to submit that finding under the new rule.
The SSA points out that the tighter rule regarding medical evidence would provide the agency with a more complete picture of the applicant’s condition and how it impacts their life. Furthermore, decisions regarding the validity of the claim would be more accurate with this data. The agency stated that the proposal stems from allegations that representatives of disabled people were not submitting medical evidence that did not support the application.
While it is a good thing to have all the facts, it is also not uncommon for doctors to differ in opinions regarding the status and impact of a person’s health condition. A misdiagnosis, error in testing results or other factors could lead to a medical record that is not an accurate representation of the person’s disability. People often will seek help from more than one doctor, especially when it comes to illnesses, mental health disorders and problems that are not physically obvious, in an effort to find out why they are struggling with pain or other symptoms not easily explained.
People with more complex issues may find themselves at a disadvantage because of negative medical reports or statements from doctors that dispute the disability. This could lead to unfair denials of their SSD claim and unnecessary delays in receiving the benefits they desperately need, causing further financial hardship for them and their families.
The SSA is asking the public to submit feedback on the proposal and will use that feedback to determine whether to put the proposed rule into effect. People who are concerned over the potential impact such a rule will have on their application process should speak to an experienced attorney for guidance.