Begun in 2003, the website offers detailed overviews of the disability evaluation process. It also provides answers to numerous questions regarding applications for disability, how to file appeals in the event of a denial, how to prepare for hearings before a federal administrative law judge, and how to obtain representation.
Beyond the basics, more information is provided to answer questions that disability claimants often have, but, despite having access to social security field office representatives when they file for benefits or pursue an appeal, often have trouble finding answers to. These questions cover a wide range of topics but often include "How long will it take to receive a decision?", "What are the odds of winning during an appeal?", "How do I prepare for a hearing?", and "Should I get representation?"
To answer these questions, which go beyond even detailed information concerning the mechanics of social security disability and SSI, the site draws heavily upon the unique perspective of its author, a former social security administration disability claims examiner. Disability examiners are the individuals who are charged with the responsibility of:
- Receiving new cases from social security field offices.
- Gathering medical information, work history information, and educational informational for each case they decide.
- Evaluating each completed file and rendering an administrative determination as to whether or not an applicant or appellant will be considered disabled according to social security administration criteria and, thus, eligible or not to receive monthly disability benefits.
These programs are currently under close scrutiny by both Congress and various media outlets such as CBS News and the New York Times due to historically high case backlogs that, for large segments of the country, present the unpleasant reality that a disability claim, from start to finish, may easily consume more than three years time. Such lengthy waits, which have grown prodigiously under the current administration, paint a bleak picture for individuals who are forced, due to physical or mental infirmity, to file for disability benefits. And that portrait often, unfortunately, includes bankruptcy and home foreclosure, in addition to worsening health.