Filing a disability claim in West Virginia requires you to complete a detailed application. One mistake or one line left blank can lead the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny your disability benefits claim.
You also need to submit plenty of evidence, most of which comes in the form of medical documentation of your illness or injury. With a majority of claims coming back denied disability in West Virginia, you should prepare yourself for the bad news by understanding how the appeals process works.
Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits in West Virginia
You should answer the “How to file” a disability benefits claim question before you learn where to file a claim. The SSA assigns a team of medical examiners to review your claim. With a medical guide called the Blue Book, the SSA determines whether your illness or injury qualifies you for financial assistance.
Then, the team of medical examiners takes a look at your symptoms to determine the level of severity. Suffering from an illness or injury is not enough for the SSA to green light your claim. You also have to suffer from the severe symptoms listed in the Blue Book.
The SSA provides claimants with three different ways to file a claim. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, filing a claim at one of the 16 SSA field offices in West Virginia represented the most popular way to file a claim.
However, many field offices remain closed or operate under restricted hours. Call 800-772-1213 to see if the field office located closest to your home is back in business. If the field office nearest you remains closed, then consider filing your West Virginia disability benefits claim online.
Disability Benefits Claim Statistics in West Virginia
West Virginia disability claims receive approval from the SSA only 30 percent of the time. This is below the national average of approvals at 35 percent. For the first step of the appeal process, just 11 percent of claimants get their appeals approved by the SSA.
When the appeal process reaches the next step of the process, more than half of appeals get approved by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The national approval average at an ALJ hearing sits at 45 percent. It takes an average of 18 months for an ALJ hearing to start, which is right at the national average.
Winning a West Virginia Disability Benefits Appeal
A Social Security disability denied claim does not mean you cannot receive financial assistance for your serious illness or injury. The SSA has established a four-step appeals process that starts with reconsideration by the federal agency.
Reconsideration of a denied disability benefits claim unfolds the same way the review unfolded for your initial claim. A different team of medical examiners at the SSA reviews your appeal for reconsideration. If you do not strengthen your claim the second time around, you can expect the SSA to deny your appeal.
Attending a hearing in front of an ALJ represents the second step of the appeal for disability benefits in West Virginia. Held in a civil courtroom, the ALJ hearing is run by an objective judge who listens to the arguments presented by both sides.
An ALJ hearing is similar to a civil court proceeding because of the calling of witnesses and the presentation of evidence. The judge presiding over your appeal conducts an exhaustive review of the hard and testimonial evidence before issuing a decision. If you lose your appeal in front of an ALJ, you can take your case to Review by Appeals Council.
Your request for an appeal must be in writing and submitted within 60 days of you receiving the denial letter from the SSA. The SSA gives disability claimants an extra five days to account for the time it takes for a denial letter to reach a claimant’s home.
Form SSA-561 is the form you have to submit to file an appeal. The quickest way to get a response for a request of an appeal is by filing your appeal online.
Getting Help Filing a Disability Claim in West Virginia
Submitting a Social Security disability claim can be frustrating because you are overwhelmed with requests for personal information. A Social Security attorney can help you make sense of the complicated process by ensuring you submit an accurate application, as well as convincing medical evidence that supports your claim that you suffer from a disabling medical condition.
Schedule a free case evaluation with a Social Security lawyer to learn more about the Social Security disability claim filing process.