Applying for social security disability benefits can be a daunting task. You have probably heard horror stories of how long it takes to obtain benefits…if at all. Below are a few tips that will help you present the best possible claim to the social security administration, in the hopes of your claim being approved quickly. Of course, the best tip will always be to hire an experienced social security disability attorney, but I will get to that tip at the end.
The first tip is to have proper medical evidence supporting your disabilities. The social security disability program requires medical proof that you suffer a severe condition which affects your ability to work. If you have not sought treatment from a doctor for your conditions there is no evidence that you really suffer from this condition, other than your word. And frankly social security will not rely on your word when determining eligibility.
Go to your doctor. Explain to your doctor everything that is limiting you from working. The best way to do this so as not to forget limitations is to start at the top of your head working down. Remember, psychological impairments count just as much when making a disability determination as physical impairments. So do not forget to mention any depression or anxiety you may be experiencing.
Make sure after you go to your doctor that you follow your doctor’s recommended treatment. If the doctor tells you to go see a specialist then go see that specialist. If he or she prescribes you medications make sure to take those medications as prescribed. Most importantly, make sure to continue to treat with your doctor on a regular basis (I recommend monthly) so as to establish a long record of treatment for your conditions. If you see your doctor regularly, explain all of your limitations, and follow the recommended treatment you will be in a good place when applying for disability benefits.
Statement from your doctor
The second tip is to obtain a medical statement from your doctor. This medical statement should include any restrictions or limitations you would have when working an 8 hour day, 5 days a week. Typical limitations would include being able to sit for 15 minutes at one time, or only being able to lift 10lbs occasionally. When social security examines your claim for benefits they will consider what you are physical and psychologically capable of doing and then compare those limitations to typical work requirements. If your doctor completes a medical statement with significant limitations which are work preclusive, SSA will have a hard time denying your claim for benefits.
Solid Work History
The third tip is to have a solid work history for the past fifteen years. When applying for social security benefits you will obviously not be able to change what you did 15 years ago. But being able to show the administration that you want to work, and have worked consistently your whole life is good evidence of your character. The reason character is important is that part of the application process depends upon you the individual explaining to SSA what your limitations are. Oftentimes this can be very subjective. While medical records are the best evidence to document limitations, your personal statements will also be used. So having a strong work history shows that you want to work but that your conditions are preventing you from doing so.
Cooperate with the Social Security Administration
The fourth tip is to always cooperate with Social Security. Your claim for disability benefits is first assessed by the social security administration. If SSA is unable to approve your claim for benefits, then you will request a hearing before an administrative law judge. What this all means is that your initial application will be reviewed by SSA. It is important to stay on the good side of anyone who is making a decision on your claim. Therefore, I highly recommend complying with every request SSA makes of you patiently and promptly. This advice may sound obvious but once you start a claim for benefits you will understand what I am talking about. Your claim may take months or even years before a decision is made. Also, SSA may send you duplicate questionnaires and call you numerous times to obtain the same information. This is where patience is required. I advise you respectfully answer all of SSA’s questions, fill out all of the forms they send you and attend any appointments they schedule for you. It will not help to vocalize your frustration with whatever SSA employee is reaching out to you. In fact, it could severely hurt your chances of being approved. Being rude or refusing to help SSA obtain the necessary information for your case will more than likely result in a denial. Keep in mind it is you who asked SSA to consider your claim for disability. They are not required to approve the case so it is in your best interest to be polite and cooperative with anyone who may contact you from the office.
Hire an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney
The fifth and final tip is the most important tip of all. Hire an experienced disability attorney. Individuals applying for disability benefits are usually under a significant amount of stress trying to deal with their difficult financial situation, along with balancing treatment for their medical conditions. Why add another level of stress to that by trying to fight SSA for disability benefits? It does not cost you anything out of pocket to hire a disability attorney. Plus, having an experienced attorney on your side puts you in a better position to present a valid claim to the administration. There is really no disadvantage to hiring an attorney, only advantages.
At the LaBovick Law Group, we provide a free initial consultation. Meaning, we will talk with you about your situation and explain whether you meet the requirements of the program. Because there is no initial fee it would be irresponsible of you not to seek help from someone who is experienced. Especially since receiving these benefits affect your financial stability in the long run. If you are thinking about applying for disability benefits please call me at (561) 623-3681. I promise to shed some light on your path to receiving disability benefits.