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Social Security Disability Rule Changes Forthcoming for Some

The Social Security Administration has just announced new rules - accessible through the Federal Registry online - that will enable what it calls America's "most vulnerable citizens" to qualify more quickly for Social Security Disability benefits. The rules will be effective November 12, 2010.

The persons who will be eligible to have their applications fast-tracked will be those persons with the most severe disabilities. Under the agency's Quick Disability Determination (QDD) and Compassionate Allowance (CAL) processes, 88 specific diseases and conditions have been identified as qualifying for fast-track treatment without the need for medical approval or the input of psychological consultants.

"This year, more than 100,000 people benefited from our fast-track disability processes and received decisions in a matter of days rather than the months and years it can sometimes take," said agency head Michael J. Astrue.

Astrue's comment points to both the value of expedited processes for some people and the continuing time lag and complexity involved for most people involved in the disability process. In a recent blog post, for example, we noted the comment from Social Security officials that disability applications rose more than 20 percent from 2008 to 2009, the highest one-year increase ever experienced by the agency.

The agency has been staggered by the volume and, as a result, the time delays and other exactions placed upon most claimants - considerable in the best of times - have been exacerbated.

As has been exhaustively noted by many commentators, most applicants are routinely rejected early in the process and are denied again upon reconsideration. Many give up, feeling overwhelmed by the process. Some never appeal.

Widely available statistics show, though, that an applicant who retains an experienced Social Security disability attorney stands a much higher chance of securing benefits, with the lawyer knowing how to process the myriad forms and paperwork and represent a client at a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Related Resource: "Social Security Fast-Track Disability Processes Get Even Faster" October 15, 2010

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