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SSDI applications in the Appalachian coal region

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2022 | SSDI

Ask anyone who has applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a high-profile, government-operated program. Looking at the statistics surrounding initial applications, you would think rejected claims are all part of the process.

Considering that a vast majority receive initial rejections, regardless of the severity of their disability, that assumption may have some merit. Many applicants just give up. Others prepare for the lengthy and highly bureaucratic process of appeals.

State-by-state information on rejections varies. Some make the process easy, while others present more challenges in the uphill climb for approval.

Challenges that coal miners face

The Appalachian coal region sees many applications submitted to the Social Security Administration, primarily from coal miners diagnosed with black lung disease. States in that area include Virginia, West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Looking at five of those states shows a wide range of results.

  • Virginia’s 2020 approval rate ranked right in the middle at 25, with 48.4 percent approval in 2020, with average benefits at $1,308 every month. The number was down slightly from the 48.7 percent in 2019 when the state ranked 20th.
  • Neighboring West Virginia slightly improved as well, with a rank of 42nd in 2020 with approvals at 40.7 percent. Average compensation per month was $1,255, a 1.2 percent increase from 2019’s 40.2%, where the state came in at 41st.
  • The 41st ranked spot for 2020 went to Kentucky with 40.8 percent approval, with $1,226 in average monthly benefits. The number represented an increase of 3.8 percent from 39.3 percent and a previous ranking of 45.
  • Twenty-second ranked Pennsylvania plummeted from 13th in 2019 to 22nd in 2020. Approval rates were at 49.4 percent in 2020, down from 57 percent during the previous year.

The complexities of SSDI applications often require the help of an attorney knowledgeable of the process and strategies to secure the benefits you are entitled to under the law.