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Judges make a difference in whether you get disability benefits

When people apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is because they need financial support. And Social Security is a federally run program, we expect that there will be consistent support given to people throughout the country. In reality, that is not always what happens.

The percentage of people in Columbus who receive Social Security Disability benefits is different than the percentage of people who receive benefits in other parts of the country. Moreover, the disparity between the judges who consistently award benefits and the judges who don’t is growing.

According to a recent article in USA Today, some judges approve almost every claim they hear, while some approve almost none. As a result, the judge who is hearing your case could be as influential in determining whether you receive benefits as the actual details of your story.

In the past five years, the number of people applying for disability benefits has increased by about 38 percent. To address that increase, the Social Security Administration has added numerous judges and shortened the review process.

However, the increasing number of judges could also be negatively impacting the consistency that should be in the process. According to statistics, about 30 percent of claims that are submitted nationally are denied, but the range within that amount is startling. One judge denies just over 1 percent of the cases he hears, while another judge denies more than 82 percent.

Although it can be difficult to know whether you will be working with a judge who has a propensity for approving or denying claims, working with an attorney can help ensure your judge has a clear understanding of all the details in your case.

Source: USA Today, “Data show disability benefits can depend on judge,” Mike Chalmers, 1 July 2011

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