Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Kansas
Obesity is a major health concern in the state of Kansas. With an obesity rate of more than 30%, one can easily imagine why it would be a health concern for its citizens. Not many realize that obesity can lead to depression and poor mental health making it difficult, often impossible for such people to earn a living. Obesity also raises the risk of serious medical conditions that can cause temporary or permanent disability. The top two diagnostics on the Kansas Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list are those with disabilities that related to mental health disorders (37%) and those related to the musculoskeletal system (27%).
If you are among the 12% of people who suffer from a disability you may be able to qualify for benefits through federal programs like SSDI. If you have been working for employers that participate in the Social Security program and have earned enough work credits you may be entitled to receive these benefits. To be eligible, however, your disability has to fit the Social Security definition of disability which includes:
- A disability that has lasted or is projected to last for at least one year.
- A disability that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
- A disability that either meets or is comparable to a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book.
In Kansas about 3 in 10 applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Kansas
About 12.2% of residents in Kansas suffer from some kind of a disability. However, only a severe disability that hinders you from earning a living can qualify for SSDI benefits. There are two ways your benefits can be approved.
The first way is by meeting an exact match to an impairment in the Blue Book. Such people have an excellent chance of getting their benefits approved easily. The SSA will even expedite the claims process of those who suffer from a terminal or extremely severe disability.
Although the Blue Book is being continually updated, not all medical conditions that cause disability are listed. Therefore, the majority of applicants will not have a disability that meets an exact listing which brings us to the second way benefits can be approved—vide a medical vocational allowance. In such cases, the SSA will review medical and vocational history of the claimant. They will assess the claimant’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This is an evaluation of how you much you can do (daily and work activities) despite your disability. Claimants are given benefits through a medical vocational allowance only if they are not able to work at any job because of the physical and/or mental limitations of their disability.
The entire process can take 3 to 4 months. It may take longer if the claimant is asked to undergo further medical examinations. Claimants often fail to recognize how important it is to provide the SSA with detailed information about your disability. This includes the onset date, treatment centers, names of physicians with their contact details, etc. Detailed information is what the SSA will use to make a fair determination. It may help to hire an experienced advocate to assist you even at the initial application level to facilitate the claims process.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
The process of filing a claim begins online or at an SSA office near you. In the state of Kansas there are 12 Social Security offices. While the SSA accepts your case, they transfer it to a state agency whose job it is to retrieve medical records from the treatment centers you have provided. A disability examiner who works for the state agency and is trained in the SSDI claims determination process is the sole decision maker. The examiner may request you to undergo further examinations to facilitate the decision making process. He may call you for an interview in person (via telephone or video if you are not able to come in person).
Only 32% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Kansas. The rest who receive a denial notice are encouraged to go through the appeals process where the majority will eventually be approved. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This process is identical to the initial application process without any change in the criteria for qualification. The only difference is that another disability examines your case. Unless you have new evidence to show that your condition has declined or the previous examiner has made an obvious mistake, you are not likely to get approved for benefits at this first stage of appeal. The rate of approval here in Kansas is 15.6%.
- The Court Hearing: You have a much higher chance of getting benefits approved at this level than at any other stage in the appeals process. Your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will not only give due weight to your testimony but also the testimonies of your treatment physicians and other medical and vocational experts. In Kansas, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 38.4%.
- The Appeals Council: Here, the decision of the ALJ is reviewed and if any evidence was overlooked or an unfair decision was made, the Council can reverse the decision of the ALJ or send your case to another ALJ.
- Federal Review: Not many go to this last level of appeal. The process is expensive and unless you have a very solid case, it is unlikely to go in your favor. Most claimants are advised to re-apply for SSDI benefits at this stage.
All appeals must be made within 60 days of the date of denial and must reach the SSA office within 65 days of the date of the denial notice. If you have not taken the assistance of legal representation at the initial application process you are advised not to go through the appeals, particularly the second phase of the appeals process, without an advocate. Advocates at Disability United are well-versed in the SSDI claims process and can greatly increase the chances of a successful claims approval process. They can prepare a solid case by presenting evidence that is convincing and clearly shows you meet the SSDI criteria.
Find out if your disability can qualify for SSDI benefits. Fill out our free disability evaluation form today.
We would advise you not wait to apply for SSDI benefits. The SSDI claims process can often take several months, even longer. For someone who is disabled and not able to earn a substantial income, we understand how important it is for you to start getting your benefits soon.
Fill out the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Kansas
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Kansas State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Kansas Department for Children and Families: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services and more.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person or a young child are given priority.
- Food Assistance and Nutrition program: This program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.