Another recent investigation into Social Security from The Wall Street Journal underlines how important it is for disability benefits applicants to keep trying and never give up hope. The investigation looked at how the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) pressured some of its doctors into making quicker decisions in order to deal with the backlog of applicants for disability benefits that the SSA faces. New problems arose, though – poor decisions that appeared to emphasize quantity over quality.
The article mentions what happened in one Baltimore, Maryland SSA branch. There, eye doctors were handling back-pain cases, and a dermatologist reviewed someone who had had a stroke. While the SSA countered that they were all medical doctors, which is true, the input of a specialist is invaluable for disability benefits cases. Many doctors in the Baltimore case had not practiced outside of their specialty for decades, according to the article. As a result, in more than a few cases, the SSA would deny benefits to those who should have received them, or grant benefits to those who should not be getting them.
The SSA plans to implement similar procedures in other states, which is likely to impact Oklahoma and its neighbors, which have some of the highest proportions of its residents receiving disability benefits in the country. Between 4.5 and 6.0 percent of Oklahoma residents receive disability benefits. In Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, more than 6 percent of the residents of those states receive benefits.
How important was a specialist’s diagnosis for your disability benefits? Did new medical testing from a specialist trump a previous finding that you should not receive benefits?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys