The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the entity responsible for disability benefit claims and when evaluating a claim it will determine if a disability meets the SSA’s strict criteria. Many claims are denied but anyone in this position has the right to appeal but will need help from a disability lawyer to lodge an appeal and request a hearing.
Social Security Benefits in Minnesota: Key Facts
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has 18 Social Security Field offices in the state in the following places:
- Fergus Falls,
- Saint Cloud,
- St Paul,
These offices handle applications for Social Security disability benefits from the state’s residents.
Whether you make a claim for a social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefit or a supplementary security income (SSI) benefit depends on the number of years of work you have completed and any work credits you have stored up over time.
When an applicant submits a disability benefit claim the application is sent to the state’s office of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) which will appraise the status of the claim. The DDS has medical expertise at hand who can assess how severe the disability is by locating it in the SSA’s Blue Book lists.
If the SSA is unable to directly match your disability with any in the Blue Book you may be asked to undertake more tests. The DDS may ask you to get your doctor to perform a residual functional capacity assessment as well.
Minnesota has a disability rate which is similar to the national average of 25.6%. Not all people who suffer from a disability will be in receipt of disability benefits.
In the State of Minnesota, disability benefit applicants have to wait at least a year before they are told the result of their application. Generally 38 percent of applications are accepted from the initial application.
This applies to appeal hearings too if the initial claim has been denied. After the hearing has been completed applicants often have to wait another month or two before being told the outcome of their appeal. About 50 percent of appeals result in the application being accepted.
Appealing a Denied Social Security Benefit Claim in Minnesota
Many disability benefit claims are denied from the initial application. This is mainly due to the applicant’s medical history as it is often not good enough for the SSA claims officers to make the right decision.
If your claim is denied at the first application the next step to take is to request a reconsideration of your application. If this is denied as well you should file a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Before the hearing date arrives you should make sure you have more detailed information about your disability so that your claim is stronger than your first attempt. This includes:
- how well your disability characteristics matches the SSA’s Blue Book criteria;
- more details about your medical history;
- your work history;
- when your disability first started and became so severe that you had to stop work.
It may help if you ask your doctor to undertake a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment which helps to confirm what you can do both physically and mentally.
The ALJ’s job is to study carefully any information you have provided to the SSA and any new information you are able to provide since your first application.
Medical professionals may attend the appeal to ask you more questions so they can reach the best decision. Many claims in New Minnesota are approved following this hearing, but if unsuccessful, there are still other steps available in the appeal’s process.
Help Filing for Disability Benefits in Minnesota
Getting the disability benefits you are eligible to receive requires completing the complex application process. It helps if a disability lawyer can assist you to navigate this process including an appeal if your initial social security disability benefit claim is denied.
Your lawyer may help you to organize any further tests if needed, check your medical records are up-to-date and arrange a RFC assessment. This would give you a higher chance of reversing the decision of a claim that has been denied.