Claiming your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can become an uphill battle for some. Here are some important tips that can strengthen your claim, broaden your understanding of the process, and help you find approval.
1. Speak to a Legal Professional About Your Social Security Disability Claim
The best possible tip for handling a Social Security Disability claim is to speak with an experienced Social Security attorney. You don’t have to wait until you receive a denial, are facing an administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing, or run into a problem before contacting an attorney about your Social Security Disability claim.
You can certainly involve a Social Security attorney at any point, but understand you can consult a legal professional before you do anything else. Your attorney can help you figure out how best to prepare and submit your claim.
Working with legal help from the start can help take all the guesswork while giving you a source of information who can answer your questions. Working with an attorney doesn’t absolve you of the need to practice diligence with your claim. You have to help your attorney to help you.
2. Check Out the Potential Social Security Disability Shortcuts for Your Claim
You may not qualify for an expedited claim, but it doesn’t hurt to check and see. Speaking with a Social Security attorney can also help you figure out if there are any potential Social Security Disability shortcuts available to you in the form of expedited claims.
You may have eligibility for an expedited claim if you:
- Have a terminal illness
- Are a disabled veteran with a 100% rating
- Have a condition on the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance list
- Receive an injury while on active duty
- Suffer from extreme hardship
Each of these cases comes with rules and caveats, but they can also lead to a far sooner decision, a higher case priority, or a more immediate ALJ hearing, but nothing is guaranteed.
3. Stick to the Social Security Disability Claim Process No Matter What
A denial of your benefits isn’t the end of the road when it comes to your claim. For example, in 2017, about 20% of the people who applied for benefits received them with their initial application. Around 63% of people received a medical or technical denial. Close to 15% of people were still waiting on a decision.
A small percentage of people received their benefits after reconsideration or appeal (less than 2%), but that smaller number is a little deceptive. The people who continue with the process represent a smaller percentage of the overall group that received an initial denial.
At each level of appeal, the group shrinks, so the corresponding number of approvals also shrinks, but approvals still occur all the way through to the final appeal level. Sticking to the process and going through the appeals can become necessary in some cases, and not giving up will give you your best chance in such circumstances.
4. Do All the Things the Social Security Administration Asks of You
The most practical tip that can give your claim the best chance has to do with understanding what the Social Security Administration expects of you. The Social Security Administration will let you know why they denied your claim, and many people receive denials for a lot of the same reasons.
You can defeat the most common denial reasons just by following the rules and staying on track with the claim process.
Provide All Medical Records
You need evidence of your disability and proof of your condition. Keep all medical documentation, even trivial correspondence. Discuss how your disability affects you with your doctors, and make sure your doctors document everything including any medication side effects.
If your doctor excused you from work, make sure you have a record of that. All X-rays, scans, prescription information, and anything relevant to your disability should become part of your file. You can also ask your doctors for detailed reports, which can help your case.
Continue Treatment and Follow All Treatment Instructions
Follow the prescribed treatment your physicians give you. This includes showing up to all scheduled appointments, taking your medications, and attending any recommended physical therapy.
If you stop treatment at any point without some type of valid excuse, the Social Security Administration will not know how to evaluate your situation. This can lead to a denial, and even with a valid excuse you might have a hard time explaining its validity when you appeal.
Always Cooperate and Communicate
If the Social Security Administration asks for something, give it to them after seeking advice from your attorney. The Social Security Administration may want further documentation, additional forms filled out, updated contact information, and various other things at various times.
Always cooperate and always communicate with the Social Security Administration if anything changes. If you’re called on to attend a consultative examination, show up on time. Cooperation and communication should also extend to your doctors and your attorney.
No matter where you’re at in the disability claim process, contact Horn and Kelley, PC so we can help you take the next step in the right way toward earning your disability benefits.