Putting together an application for Social Security Disability benefits is a lengthy, complex and sometimes painstaking process. It involves coordinating with physicians to procure medical records, filling out extensive forms and other tedious administrative tasks. But if you can no longer work due to a disability and are counting on benefits, you have little choice but to put in the time and effort.

Imagine, after putting in all that work, that your entire claim could be reviewed by a doctor in less than 12 minutes – then abruptly denied. Sadly, that is what happens in some cases, according to a recent news investigation into the ways that different states manage the doctors hired to review SSD applications.

While the Social Security Administration oversees the entire program at the federal level, each state hires and manages doctors to review claims. The investigation revealed that doctors in many states are paid for each case they review, which gives them an incentive to spend as little time as possible on any given file. And the fact that states have an interest in preventing disability fraud means that doctors are likely to default to denying claims if they haven’t properly taken the time to study them.

This is obviously a major problem that warrants widespread reform. But the one bit of good news is that denials can be appealed. And with the help of an attorney, the appeals are often successful. Unfortunately, the appeals process can take a long time, which is difficult when you don’t have another source of income.

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is disheartening to learn that some case reviewers are not nearly as thorough or fair as they should be. Nonetheless, you should work to present the strongest possible case for why you are entitled to benefits. And many applicants find that this is much easier to do with the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.