From paying for daily living expenses to losing work income because of a serious illness or injury, suffering from a disabling medical condition can leave you in financial distress. How do you pay for costly medical expenses?
The answer is by filing a disability claim in Alaska. Filing a disability claim involves accurately completing every section of an application, along with medical documents the SSA reviews to determine your eligibility for financial assistance. If you receive a Social Security disability denied letter, you have the right to file an appeal.
Filing a Disability Claim in Alaska
What came first, the cart or the horse is an appropriate metaphor when filing for Social Security disability benefits. Putting the horse first means knowing what you need to submit for the SSA to approve your Alaska disability benefits claim.
You must submit an accurate application, as well as complete every section to get considered for financial assistance. If you make just one mistake on the application, the SSA will dismiss your claim.
You also need to submit persuasive evidence, most of which should be in the form of medical documents. A written statement from your employer can make the case that you have missed a significant amount of time from work.
Filing a disability benefits claim requires you to submit the paperwork to one of the three SSA field offices operating in Alaska. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, most claimants visited the nearest field office and filed a claim in person.
As of May 2021, the SSA has opened some, but not all of its field offices in the United States. Alaska has relaxed many of its pandemic restrictions, which means you should call 800-772-1213 to see if the field office located near you is accepting in-person claims.
Alaska Disability Benefits Claim Statistics
Alaska has one of the highest approval rates for initial disability claims of any state in the country. At 46 percent, the percentage of initial claims receiving approval by the SSA is 11 percentage points higher than the national average.
Data for the success of appeals for reconsideration is not available for Alaska residents. On the other hand, the approval rate for an appeal hearing sits at 23 percent, which is 22 percentage points lower than the national average. The average hearing time for an appeal is 14 months in Alaska, while it is 19 months nationally.
Getting a Denied Claim Reversed
The Alaska disability benefits appeal process starts at the first step called reconsideration. An appeal for reconsideration goes through the same review process that the SSA used for your initial claim.
This means a different team of medical examiners reviews your appeal for reconsideration, but the medical examiners use the same criteria to determine your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. You have to submit more compelling medical evidence the second time around or risk losing your appeal for reconsideration.
Before filing an appeal for reconsideration, the SSA or your lawyer might recommend going through a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. Completing an RFC assessment might provide the SSA with enough evidence to approve your initial claim.
A physician from the SSA puts you through a battery of tests to determine whether you can continue working at your current job. An RFC assessment measures both mental and physical capabilities.
If you were denied disability in Alaska and you lost your appeal for reconsideration, the next step in the appeal process involves attending a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
An ALJ hearing is like a civil court trial in that your attorney argues your case in front of an impartial judge, as well as calls witnesses to the stand to testify on your behalf. The low ALJ hearing approval rate in Alaska is unusual because an ALJ does not have any allegiance to the SSA.
You have 60 days after receiving your disability benefits denial letter from the SSA to file an appeal. Missing the deadline to file an appeal means you have to start over with your claim.
Ask for Help to File a Disability Claim in Alaska
Working with a Social Security lawyer improves your chances of getting your Social Security disability claim approved by the SSA. Having an attorney on your side ensures you meet all deadlines and submit the type of compelling evidence the SSA wants to see.