One of my favorite quotes comes from none other than former US President Richard M. Nixon, who once said: “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”
Of the 1.5 million initial disability claims denied last year, 660,000 applicants did not appeal. Of those who filed an initial appeal, another 61,000 did not request a hearing after receiving a reconsideration denial. Adding those numbers together, nearly half of all disability applicants who are denied benefits simply give up when they are told “no”, even before receiving a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
We are all told early on in life to never give up. Yet for some reason, disability applicants commonly fall prey to the “insurance nature” of the SSD and SSI programs—which is essentially that the government (SSA) denies eligible applicants hoping that they ignore the established appeal process and give up. I often find myself explaining to clients that SSA operates the disability programs like Progressive and Geico operate their insurance businesses—they need more money coming in than there is money going out. The way to accomplish that objective is to refuse claims and hope the applicants don’t follow through.
When you receive an initial denial, your best chance of being approved is still in front of you. When you receive a second denial (called reconsideration), your best of being approved is still in front of you. A disability applicant’s best chance of being awarded SSD or SSI benefits is and always has been at a hearing with an ALJ. Roughly 1/3 of initial applicants are approved. More than 90% of reconsideration appeals are denied. But currently, almost half of the claims that are pursued to the ALJ level are ultimately awarded.
Enter the Liner Legal team of Disability Warriors. We cannot stand by and just watch this trend of blown appeals continue. We have made it our mission to educate disability applicants about the appeal process. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer, or even if you choose to work with a law firm other than ours, we believe it is important that those applying for disability benefits know not to give up and to keep moving their case forward. Thinking back to the quote from President Nixon, quitting is the only defeat.