TOP TIPS FOR APPLYING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
Applying for Social Security Disability can be an extremely daunting task. The process can require up to five different reviews, the last being a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration in Federal Court. Almost every person who calls me to help them with their Social Security Disability claim expects to be denied on the first application. Social Security denies roughly 60% of the initial applications. That means that even though the odds are against you, 40% of people who apply are accepted on their first application. Here are seven tips to improve your chances of being approved the first time:
- List All Disabilities: Social Security has made the application process much simpler by making the application electronic through their website. However, the online application only allows you to list a certain number of disabilities. Don’t just leave off the rest of the disabilities, keep track of what disabilities you haven’t listed and list them at the very end of the application where the application asks for any other information that you would like to provide.
- Collect All Medical Records: When you apply for Social Security Disability online, there is not a place to submit medical records. Sure, you list all of your doctors and all the facilities where you have received treatment, but that may not be enough. Social Security is supposed to request your records, but they may miss a doctor or facility. Also, your doctor may not respond to the request for records made by Social Security. You should collect your medical records and mail copies to your local Social Security office.
- Ask for a Doctor Letter: Social Security processes thousands of applications, and even though their analysts and medical experts are supposed to review all of the medical records, it makes sense that they would miss key information. If your doctor’s notes are in messy hand-writing, then it is even more likely. Ask your primary care physician to write you a letter explaining your disabilities based on the tests that have been performed and the effects of those disabilities on your life and your ability to work. Then submit that letter to Social Security.
- Be Clear: Like I mentioned earlier, Social Security analysts have to process thousands of applications. When you have any opportunity to explain your disability or the effect of your disability, be specific, be clear, and be brief. Sending Social Security pages of explanation may actually hurt your claim. Don’t leave anything important out, but be brief.
- Find Your Medical Listing: The first test to determine if you are disabled is to see if your ailments meet what is called a medical listing. You can make this step really easy for the analyst if you look up the medical listings, and find the one that fits your ailments. Then use the exact language for the medical listing when writing your disability in the application.
- Do Your Own Research: When you are listing your doctors and the medical facilities where you have received treatment, make sure to fill out the full name, address and contact information for each provider. If you don’t have the information, look it up online. If you leave it blank there is a good chance the records from that provider will not be reviewed.
- Show Up For Appointments: If Social Security doesn’t feel like there is sufficient medical evidence to make a decision on your application, they might request that you see their contracted doctors. They will send you a letter stating the date and time for the appointment. Respond to that letter. If you can’t make the time listed, call your local office to reschedule it by the deadline on the letter. The evidence from that appointment can actually get your application approved your application is not approved, don’t despair. Call a qualified Social Security Disability attorney to help you with the next phases of the process. Even though many people are denied on their initial application, an additional 20% to 40% are approved in the phases of the process that follow the initial application.