The Filing Process
You have two choices when it comes to filing your Social Security Disability Claim.
#1 File Your Own Claim for Social Security Benefits - Please be aware, statistics show that most people who apply for Social Security benefits on their own are initially DENIED.
#2 Get Professional Help From Someone that Specializes in Social Security Disability Law Help You Apply for Social Security Benefits - Statistics show that 90% of qualified applicants get approved with the help of a Social Security attorney, lawyer, or advocate.
Experienced Social Security Disability Advocates are available to guide you if you feel you would like help. These experts know how the system works, and will handle most of it for you.
With representation you:
Increase your chances of winning dramatically
Maximize benefits due (get the most money you can qualify for)
Let your representative deal with Social Security saving lots of time and frustration
Have experts to file your appeals, if needed
Get your paperwork filed quickly and accurately
Reduce chances of denial based on unexpected technicalities
Avoid fee payment unless you win
Regardless of the choice that you make in filing your claims, you will be required to present the same documentation and understand the filing process so that you can maximize your benefits. Below is information to help you understand the filing requirements.
Applying The Right Way
If you believe that you are disabled and unable to work, you should apply for benefits as soon as possible. The process of evaluating an application for disability benefits is extensive. Even if approved, your benefits may not actually pay out to you for some time. Consequently, the sooner you apply for benefits once disabled, the sooner you will have the security of Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income.
Filling out the application and forms
There are many forms that must be completed thoroughly and accurately. This is not a process that you should rush through. Making a mistake in your application can delay a judgment for weeks. The application is the first piece of evidence the SSA uses in making a determination for your claim. It is therefore extremely important to understand how to make statements that will help your claim and avoid terminology or admissions that will result in a denial.
Many applicants find the claim forms to be confusing. Not only is an applicant dealing with the stress of becoming disabled, but in order to complete their application they must comprehend a significant amount of unfamiliar terminology. Phrases and words that may seem to mean one thing to an applicant may have a very specific, and perhaps different, meaning to the SSA. This can make the process of proving your disability frustrating. If you are unfamiliar with what is required by the SSA, a hastily completed application will almost definitely result in a denial of benefits.
How to prepare
Be sure to research your disability before you apply. Proving a disabling condition to the SSA requires a significant amount of medical documentation and evidence. This is because disability claims are approved based on the medical evidence provided by your doctors, caregivers, and treatment facilities. However, making an incorrect statement on your application because you do not understand the answer the SSA is seeking could lead to a denial.
Perhaps the important aspect of your application is the Disability Report. Many applicants spend a few days filling out this only this form. This is because it provides the most critical information regarding your disability. These are the statements you will make about your condition and therefore, anything you state on this form will be used by the SSA as a determination of your own assessment regarding your disability. Before filling out the Disability Report it is recommended that you gather your documentation. Your medical records must support anything that you state in your Disability Report.
The application process can seem like an impossible task. For a disabled worker, approval of benefits is essential for making financial ends meet. If you have concerns about filing your application, many attorneys specializing in Social Security law offer a free consultation and evaluation of your disability application.
Documentation - What You Will Need
The process of applying for disability is far more complex than simply filling out an application and waiting for your check. Your application is just the very beginning of a very large amount of documentation that you will be required to submit to the SSA in order to prove that you have been disabled.
With such a high rate of denials, it is important to make your initial application as thorough and complete as possible. This will increase the likelihood of a favorable judgment, or in the case of a denial, simplify the process of an appeal.
The Social Security Administration relies heavily on your medical records to determine the eligibility of your disability claim. It is important that you provide a complete medical history with your application. The priority in your medical records should be placed upon the condition that you are claiming has disabled you. The hospitals, clinics, doctors, therapists, and counselors you have visited will have your medical records. Copies of these records are typically sent to your primary physician, so check with your doctor first to see how complete your records are. You must obtain copies of these records and organize them in such a fashion that is logical and easy to read. Your records should document any medications you have taken or are taking, any previous medical conditions or ailments you have suffered from, and any lab reports, x-rays, or other clinical diagnostics that provide evidence of your disability. It is important that you do not omit any health care that you have received.
A typical application documents the past fifteen years an individual has worked. This documentation includes the location and name of previous employers, the duration of employment, and the type of work that you performed in each position. The SSA requires a current W-2 form to be submitted with this work history (for self-employed applicants, a copy of your Federal Tax Return is submitted.
Along with the basic application form, be prepared to also submit the following:
Documentation of benefits or public assistance you are receiving
Marriage Certificate, Certificate of Divorce
An Official Birth Certificate
Social Security Number
Military Service or Discharge Records
Documentation of Child Support Payments
Documentation of Dependents
The Appeal Hearing
is the third stage of the application procedure and is where the majority of favorable determinations are made. A delay of 500 days for a hearing from the initial request can have devastating effects. By the time an applicant receives a favorable determination, they may have lost not only their income but their condition may have also worsened. In 2007 a reported 16,000 people died waiting for their disability claims to be approved. Applicants waiting an inordinate amount of time often find themselves having to apply for social services such as food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid due to their inability to work. Worse yet, should they finally receive a favorable determination the SSA requires that they reimburse the federal government for the support they have received while they waited for their SSDI or SSI benefits! It is not uncommon for those awaiting an SSA determination to file for bankruptcy or to be the victims of foreclosure due to their inability to make mortgage payments.
Consequently, many applicants choose to secure an attorney or advocacy service to represent their interests. To determine if hiring an attorney or advocate is the right option for you, contact us today for a FREE case evaluation. There is no obligation to use the an advocate-representative. If you chose to hire representation, they typically are paid a fee only if the case is won. So there is no risk!
Ready to apply, let us help, we can take care of the whole process.
At Social Security Disability Advocates of America, our clients come first. Every client is treated with courtesy and is guaranteed effective representation. Our expertise and integrity have earned us a reputation as one of South Carolina's premier legal firms.
Our consistent track record of uncompromising ethics instills confidence and trust. We use cutting edge technologies that allow us to respond quickly, and give you the most relevant information and perspectives.
Social Security Disability Advocates of America is dedicated to achieving the best outcome for every client. With Social Security Disability Advocates of America on your side, you will come out on top.
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