Disability Terminology Part 2

October 31, 2013

Dire need (situations and letters)  – Dire need situations refer to circumstances that, unfortunately, a great many claimants become personally familiar with–such as no longer being able to acquire medications, obtain needed clinical or hospital treatment, or pay for critical expenses, such as utilities, rent, or mortgage costs.  An attorney can write a dire need letter to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review to try and help expedite the hearing date.
Disability approval rate – The approval rate for Social Security disability (SSDI) and SSI claims varies, depending on the level at which claims are reviewed. Cases heard by administrative law judges (ALJs) have a significantly higher rate of approval than cases that are decided at the application and reconsideration levels (in most states, reconsideration is the first level of appeal, a paper review). For instance, more than half of disability applicants who appeal and attend a hearing with an ALJ are approved for benefits, while only about 35% of applications are approved at the initial application level and only 10% of applicants are approved at the reconsideration level. 
Disability case status – If you’ve been waiting more than a couple of months for a Social Security decision, you should check the status of your claim. You can call your local Social Security office to speak to a disability claims representative to check on the status. A claims rep can usually provide a general update on your case, as to where it is in the process, but will not be able to give you much detail on when a decision will be handed down or whether there are any obstacles holding it up.
Disability claim – A disability claim is where you have applied for Social Security disability and are stating that you are not capable of substantial gainful employment
Disability denial  – The Disability Determination Services often denies disability claims and requires the applicant to seek an Administrative hearing to determine his/her disability claim in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
Disability determination services  (DDS) – The body that initially reviews applications for Social Security Disability
Disability examiner  – The person at DDS who reviews the application to determine if a person qualifies for Disability benefits
District office  – The physical branch where the DDS and/or ODAR officials work on Social Security Disability applications
Disability quality branch, or DQB  – an office that reviews the decisions of DDS and the disability examiners to ensure uniformity of decisions across all branches
Drug & alcohol materiality  – If an ALJ or Disability examiner find that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may lose your disability claim on this ground regardless of whether you cannot maintain substantial gainful employment
Durational denials – If it is undeterminable that your condition will last for at least 12 months or likely that the condition will not last 12 months, the DDS may deny your claim for this reason
Exhibit list – This will include your earnings history, your medical records, your application and any other Social Security forms you filled out.
Favorable decision  – This occurs when you have been approved to receive Social Security Disability benefits!
Five month waiting period – There is a 5 month waiting period to receive disability benefits from the date you apply.  So if your application is approved before 5 months have passed since your application was filed, you will have to wait to receive benefits.