Are Rushed Doctor Reviews Jeopardizing Your Social Security Disability Claim?
A recent investigation conducted by news outlet The Tennessean, as reported in USA today this month, reveals a disturbing problem with the contract doctors who review Social Security Disability claims.
That investigative report found that many doctors hired by the Social Security Administration to review disability claims rushed through the paperwork implausibly fast, while annually billing the SSA six figures and wrongfully denying mainy claims.
The Problem with Social Security Disability Claim
The problem stems from the fact that contracted physicians who review disability claims are paid per application. So, the more disability cases that a contracted physician reviews, the more money they make. As a result, these contracted review physicians often process claims without reading what can be hundreds of pages of documentation – and simply deny the majority of the claims.
While some Social Security Disability applications may only contain a few pages, many others contain hundreds of pages of physician and hospital reports, as well as X-rays, test results, lab results and employment records. And Social Security Disability experts say that it is just not plausible to review these complex disability cases so rapidly, and that the end result is the wrongful rejection of thousands of claims.
The federal standard for reviewing a claim is 45 minutes per case. But more than half of the contract physicians in the TennesseAN investigation vastly exceeded that amount – with one doctor devoting only a meger 12 minutes to reviewing each claim.
In the most outrageous cases in the investigation, the seven highest volume doctors billed the SSA for more than $1 million each between 2013 and 2018. While some physicians were making more than $400,000 a year, for reviewing Social Security Disability!
Wrongful Social Security Disability Claim Denials
The average rate of denial for Social Security Disability claims nationally is a whopping 66 percent. In other words, currently, 2/3 of all Social Security Disability claim are denied. Tennessee, where the investigation was conducted, has one of the highest denial rates for disability applications, rejecting 72 percent of all claims in 2017.
In one case found during the investigation, a doctor denied the disability application for a man with stage 4 colorectal cancer. The disabled worker had a golf ball-sized tumor plus a foot of his intestine removed, had lost 40 pounds, and was unable to sit or stand. Hospital discharge forms even showed that the cancer was inoperable and had metastasized. But the reviewing physician concluded the patient “wasn’t too sick to work.”
The man’s denial was only later reversed, months later, after he hired a Social Security Disability lawyer – highlighting the need for having a good attorney by your side. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer is the best weapon you can have in your arsenal to try and overcome the imperfect – and often unfair – Social Security Disability review process by unscrupulous contract doctors.
The investigation by the Tennessean prompted an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, which is still ongoing at this time.
Social Security Disability Lawyers – Long Beach
Social Security Disability Denials may be appealed in a time consuming process, but in 2017, at least 9,570 people died waiting for their Social Security Disability appeals to be heard.
For this reason – and because of the complexity and flaws in the Social Security Disability application and appeals process – it is essential to have a Social Security Disability lawyer fighting for your benefits.
The Law Office of Cantrell Green is a group of highly qualified and experienced disability lawyers who have obtained millions of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits for thousands of clients in Long Beach, Orange County and the greater Los Angeles. Our Social Security Disability lawyers care about every client, and fight tirelessly to obtain the benefits you deserve.