Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a very frustrating process. A person who is applying for benefits has likely already experienced numerous challenges. Having a claim denied can make the process of applying for disability benefits even more difficult. However, if a person's application is initially denied, he or she can appeal the ruling.
As The New York Times reports, the outcome of a claim is often in the hands of a judge who rules whether or not the claim is valid. Since over a thousand judges rule on disability claims, there will likely be inconsistencies between the judges' rulings. A person's claim could be denied if it is sent to one judge, but approved if it is sent to another. This lack of regularity throughout the court system in terms of filing for disability benefits could result in very difficult situation for an applicant.
An additional issue is that each office where these judges work may approach disability claims differently. For instance, The New York Times reports that a Queens office in which judges rule on disability claims denies over two times as many claims as an office in nearby Brooklyn.
In addition to reportedly denying many claims that might be valid, the Queens office also allegedly treated the applicants poorly during questioning. A settlement states that the Queens office must offer re-trials for anyone whose claim was denied in a several-year span of time and that the judges who were named in the trial must be retrained.
Having one's claim denied could be not only difficult financially, but it may also create emotional distress for a person. If the person feels guilty about his or her condition, the ruling may increase discomfort with the illness or injury.
Source: The New York Times, "Rejected disability claims in Queens may be reheard," Mosi Secret, Jan. 11, 201