A December story in the Pioneer Press highlighted a woman with Fibromyalgia. The woman's Social Security Disability (SSD) application was denied and case delayed until the Pioneer Press Watchdog and the woman contacted the Social Security Administration, asking for it to take a fresh look at her case.
The woman's Social Security Disability case was typical, especially among sufferers of Fibromyalgia who seek SSD. It included:
- Job loss due to disability
- Initial SSD application filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Denial of the initial SSD application
- Denial during reconsideration
- Hearing in front of an administrative law judge, followed by a third denial
- New SSD application filed with the SSA
- Denial of second application
- Request for a hearing
- Another long waiting period
Unlike in other SSD cases, the hearing judge's office gave the woman a direct offer. She will begin receiving disability payments soon, two years after filing her initial application. It is normal for Social Security Disability cases to take two years or longer.
There are multiple stages in an SSD case. While some people are granted SSD based on their initial application (35 percent), many more are denied. After an initial denial, applicants can ask for reconsideration, then a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, then an appeal with the SSA. If none of these steps lead to approval, applicants can choose to take the case to federal court.
As seen in the Pioneer Press article, the support of an advocate can go a long way. Having an experienced Midwest disability lawyer on your side may also increase your chances of receiving an approval earlier on in the process.
Source: Pioneer Press, "Watchdog: When Social Security Says 'No,'" Debra O'Connor, Dec. 21, 2011.