Appealing a Denied SSD Claim in Illinois

Jun 27, 2013 by

Filing a claim for Social Security disability (SSD) in follows pretty much the same pattern as anywhere else in the US. You can file directly with the nearest Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, of which Illinois has 56 scattered all around the state for convenience. The DDS serves as the local Social Security Administration (SSA) satellite. You can also call the toll-free SSA customer hotline at (800)772-1213 or apply online by visiting www.ssa.gov (note: online applications are only for SSD; you can’t apply online for Supplemental Security Income).

The biggest problem with filing for SSD in Illinois is in the appeals process. Less than 30% of all applications are approved at the initial DDS level. The second step is to appeal the denial by making a Request for Reconsideration. After that the appeal will be elevated to a disability hearing with the administrative law judge (ALJ) and that’s where the biggest hitch occurs. It takes much longer than the national average to get a hearing date, about 575 days on average. Many who file for disability may not even be disabled any longer by the time the hearing date arrives, although this is not a bar to getting retroactive disability benefits if and when the application is approved. It is advisable for an SSD applicant to get professional assistance from a lawyer well-versed in the ins and outs of the SSD application process in Illinois to expedite it.

It should be noted that approval for SSD benefits in Illinois is not dependent on income, but on the extent and duration of a person’s disability as well as Social Security credit standing of the claimant at the time of the disability. An application for SSD will not be approved if the disability is not total (in terms of capacity to engage in the occupation prior to disability) and persist for less than 12 months.

The exception for this rule is when the claimant became disabled as a result of active military duty. The degree of disability for a veteran only has to be a minimum of 10%, and it is possible for an SSD beneficiary to continue getting benefits even if gainful employment is found, although this is not true for all cases.

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