- By Aaron Gregg
- May 25, 2023
“Federal judges have found fault with almost 60 percent of disability cases that have been appealed to them in recent years, the highest rate of rejections in years, according to a Washington Post analysis.
The findings suggest that the Social Security Administration is making significant errors in its initial assessments of disability claims, which can have devastating consequences for people who are denied benefits and are unable to work.
In many cases, judges have found that Social Security officials have ignored key medical evidence, failed to properly assess whether claimants can work and made legal errors.
For example, in one case, a judge found that Social Security had denied benefits to a woman with severe mental illness because it failed to consider her treatment notes from her doctors. The judge ordered the agency to pay her benefits and back pay.
In another case, a judge found that Social Security had denied benefits to a man with chronic pain because it failed to properly consider his medical records. The judge ordered the agency to pay him benefits and back pay.
The high rate of rejections by federal judges is a sign that the Social Security Administration is not adequately meeting its obligations to people with disabilities, said Steven Weiss, regional managing attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, Calif.
“The system is broken,” Weiss said. “People are being denied benefits that they are entitled to.”
The Social Security Administration said it is committed to providing fair and accurate disability decisions.
“We are always working to improve our processes and ensure that we are making the best possible decisions for our claimants,” said Nicole Tiggemann, a Social Security spokeswoman.
The high rate of rejections by federal judges is also a sign that the Social Security Administration is facing a growing backlog of disability claims.
The number of disability claims pending at Social Security has increased by more than 50 percent in the past five years, to more than 1.7 million.
The backlog is causing delays for people who are seeking disability benefits, and it is also making it more difficult for the Social Security Administration to ensure that it is making accurate decisions.
The Social Security Administration said it is working to reduce the backlog, but it is a complex problem that will take time to solve.
In the meantime, the high rate of rejections by federal judges is a reminder that the system is not working well for people with disabilities.
If you have been denied disability benefits, you should contact an attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can help you appeal your denial and increase your chances of receiving benefits.”