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New rules make SSD benefits claims more challenging

If you have been injured and can no longer work, then you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are not easy to come by. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the number of claim approvals and people receiving disability benefits has gone down. In fact, the number of people receiving benefits is at a five-year low with only 8.8 million getting SSD benefits.

Disability claims in Pennsylvania are denied for a multitude of reasons. Some of these denials stem from lack of proper medical evidence and documentation. To establish a need for benefits, you will need to provide information regarding your medical condition and treatments. In the past, if your physician provided a report supporting your need for benefits, that report would play a significant role in convincing the SSA to approve your claim. However, new regulations have effectively put a stop to the special consideration of physician reports. These new rules also prohibit giving additional weight to disability determinations by the Department of Veteran's Affairs and other agencies.

Many believe that the elimination of the "treating-physician rule" will make it more difficult for disabled people to prove their cases and get the financial support they desperately need. The SSA, on the other hand, says that these new rules will encourage accuracy by using more objective medical evidence when making disability decisions.

The SSD application process can be complex, and these new regulations may make it harder for your application to get approved. Staying informed regarding these rule changes, and obtaining assistance in dealing with them, can be the difference between getting your benefits and getting your claim denied.

Source: Fox 59, "New rules go into effect for Social Security disability claims, Nick McGill, March 27, 2017

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee