I’m Too Tough for Social Security: They Denied me Because I Worked Through my Injury

Social Security disability benefits decisions are often not fair.  If you are seeking benefits for the first time right now, you should know that the SSA makes incorrect denial decisions every day.  And they are carried out without them knowing of all the relevant facts in claims.  You may, in fact, already know this at a personal level if you are working on your second or even third denial. 


The Typical  Injury Situation

Consider this all too common situation… You can be denied Social Security Disability benefits even after you’ve been unable to continue working due to an injury or impairment.  For years, you’ve been grinding away at work, self-medicating a bad back, or crushing anxiety.  Slowly, over time, you have found yourself approaching a wall.  A barrier as real as any physical wall, to your ability to cope and “work through it.”  Although willing, you’re not able to actually work through your injury anymore.

How does the Social Security Administration view this?  In some cases, the stars line up, and an adjudicator recognizes your employment barriers.  They take this into account with respect to the breadth of your work history.  In many other cases, your utter tenacity in seeking to stay employed as long as possible seemingly works against you.  The adjudicator views your claim like this.  Every day you fought through injury to stay employed is another piece of evidence that shows you can work, despite them.


The Frustrating Reality

This unfair reality is doubly frustrating!  You are now in the hopper to wait up to two years for your day in court.  You just want to let everyone know; this is silly, this whole situation has been turned on its ear!  The grim truth is, you are one of over 950,000 claimants seeking to make this whole situation make sense.  And Social Security is not going to change for you unless you fight to make them.

It should come as no surprise that attorneys are often involved at this point.  The SSA often forgets the human side of disability benefits (see video below).  There are many different ways this process plays out for someone who is both working and disabled.  But too often it works against the claimant.  Having an experienced, educated, and empathetic attorney on your side to help appeal a wrong decision is the best way to make your case to the ALJ (judge).


More Information

Here is a link to the SSA workbook on various issues and programs about working while disabled.

In the meantime, Contact me for a short discussion on how to make sense of this.



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Why is SSA Taking So Long?

It can be extraordinarily frustrating waiting on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a Determination on your Claim.  Even more so as the Claim progresses from the Initial Application stage, to Reconsideration, and to the Hearing Level.

That said, we often hear the question, “why is my case taking so long?” To be frank, there are a LOT of cases waiting to be adjudicated and heard at the Social Security Administration.

Generally speaking, a case is reviewed on a first in, first out basis.  This is why we always encourage folks to apply for benefits as soon as possible. But, the purpose of this Blog is to share a bit of the statistics and metrics available on the SSA site. We hope it will help provide some context as to why, even after submitting strong medical and opinion evidence, you may still have a wait ahead of you.


Wait Times For SSA

Average time (in months) from the hearing request date until a hearing was held for cases closed in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review’s hearing offices or national hearing centers.

Spokane = 19.0 months (as of December 2015)

Seattle = 12.0 months

Hearing Office Workload – from 9/26/15-12/25/15)


Received 507 Requests for Hearings

Handled 825 Dispositions

4,473 Cases are Pending at the Hearing Office

Average Processing Time is 609 Days

Seattle (More than Spokane win all aspects, except Average Processing Time)

Received 1,736 Requests for Hearings

Handled 1110 Dispositions

8,981 Cases are Pending at the Hearing Office

Average Processing Time is 456 Days


Here’s What You Can Do When Stuck In Appeal Waitlist Limbo

Simply put, there are just a lot of Claims to process right now.  Consequently, hiring an experienced Attorney will help relieve your stress and anxiety about what kind of evidence is necessary and to answer your questions about what to expect at each stage of the process. An Attorney will know the kind of medical evidence you need to support your Claim and to offer you the best possible outcome by setting forth the strongest legal theories available given the facts.


Contact Lilac City Law Today



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