If you have sustained an injury or developed an illness that prevents you from fulfilling the requirements of a job for 12 months or longer, you may qualify for Social Security disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides these benefits to those who are in need of help during tough financial times brought on by an inability to work.
Although qualifying is important, there is work involved in actually applying to receive your benefits. Managing the application process correctly is crucial to filing a successful claim. In fact, 70% of applications are denied in the initial claims process. Many of these are due to a failure to provide the necessary documentation or meet the requirements instilled by the SSA. The attorneys at Gade & Parekh, LLP, are happy to provide insight and information that can aid in this process.
Is Your Disability Listed?
Before beginning the application process, make sure that your disability is listed in the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book.” As frustrating as it can be to feel like you have to meet a certain level of disability in order to receive their benefits, it is a necessary step of the process.
An exhaustive list of disabilities that the SSA is willing to evaluate can be found on their website. Once you have determined that your disability qualifies for evaluation, it’s time to begin the application process.
The First Step
A disability should never threaten your or your family’s livelihood. If you can no longer work or are in need of Supplemental Security Income, the first step in applying starts with your physician.
It is crucial to have medical documentation of your disability. You will want to ask your doctor (or doctors if you receive care from multiple physicians) for written documentation of your disability. Let them know you are applying for Social Security disability, and this will help give them insight as to what kind of documentation you need.
A physician can state in depth the physical limitations that make it hard for you to work. This is especially helpful if you sustained an injury or ailment that changed the way in which you are able to work. Documentation of the tests and procedures that you have undergone can is important in showing the proof and details of your disability.
This documentation from your doctor should be up to date and include the following information about your disability:
- the progression and history of your injury or illness
- your injury or ailment’s exact location and physical areas that it affects
- imaging scans that show the injury/illness’ location
- your symptoms and how they affect your daily life;
- a list of treatments that you’ve tried and the results of them
- hospital admission and surgical procedure records
- lab results and the accompanying professional analysis
- prediction of future difficulties or other possible outcomes
Another important step in collecting the medical documents necessary for detailing your disability is making sure that you have signed any release forms that allow the documents to be given to you and to the Social Security Administration. Remembering to do this before you submit your application can save you a headache later on.
Applying for Benefits
The Social Security Administration has a few different options set up when it comes to applying for Social Security Disability. You can apply online, in person, or at an SSA office. There is no advantage to using a certain method–all applications are treated equally.
To make your application go as smoothly as possible, it is important to arm yourself will all of the necessary paperwork before beginning. Aside from your medical documentation, you will also need identity documents.
Additionally, it is important to have documentation of any other benefits you have been receiving. This could include payment from workman’s compensation, any jobs you still receive payment from, etc.
The goal when gathering your necessary documents is to not be left to scramble when you have your disability interview. This interview is often scheduled when you submit your application online. However, it typically occurs right then and there when you submit it in person or over the phone.
When it comes to filing a claim for disability benefits, the more information you can provide, the better. When answering questions, include as much explanation as possible. Every small detail about your disability can add to the strength of your application, so it’s important not to dismiss any as unimportant.
A Lawyer’s Role in Your Social Security Disability Claim
While it may sound like something that you only need to do if your application is denied, working with a disability lawyer can be an incredibly smart decision to make early on in the process. Disability lawyers like the ones at Gade & Parekh have worked with many cases like yours before, and they know the potential mistakes and pitfalls that can lead to a denied claim.
Even if you have what you deem to be all the necessary documents, disability lawyers have the expertise and experience required to review your documents and can catch any spots that may be lacking.
At Gade & Parekh, we are happy to walk you through this often-arduous process and can help you submit a successful application to the SSA. Unfortunately, the majority of applicants are initially denied benefits that they desperately need and are forced to file an appeal. With over ten years of experience, we know our way around federal programs like Social Security and can successfully prepare you for your disability interview, as well as checking all the necessary boxes for filing a successful disability claim the first time.
We are only as successful as the clients that we serve. That’s why you won’t pay us until the Social Security Administration pays you. We don’t ask for compensation until you start receiving benefits, thanks to the services we’ve provided.
A disability should never stand in the way of you or your family living a happy and secure life. Together, we can get you set up to receive your Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible.