The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a staggering 72% of the initial disability benefit applications and about 90% of reconsiderations (the first level of appeal). There are ways to increase the chances of being approved of being approved to receive your social security disability benefits.
3 TIPS THAT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN APPLYING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RECORDS:
The application for disability benefits requires the dates, names and addresses of all of your medical providers. SSA will contact each of your providers to request your medical records, even paying the medical records fees, but only if the information you provide is correct. SSA does not have the personnel to follow up with your providers who fail to respond to medical records requests.
Rule: Incorrect addresses = incomplete records, and adversely affects your award.
SSA does not have the personnel to follow up with your providers who fail to respond to medical records requests.
You might want to request a complete set of your medical records and send them directly to SSA. Our office urges our clients to mail any correspondence with SSA as registered mail. This gives you a record of when the documents were sent and were received by SSA.
2. ASK YOUR DOCTOR TO BE SPECIFIC:
When you contact your medical provider for your records, ask them to indicate in writing what your restrictions are as a result of your medical condition. Ask them to be specific: how much can you lift, how long you can sit or stand etc. Include these in the records you send to SSA. When our firm request records, we often include a questionnaire that asks about ability to perform job functions, such as lifting, bending, concentrating, etc.
A doctor’s note that says you are unable to work is not persuasive to the SSA. They are interested in what you can and can not do; based on that information, they will determine whether you can work.
3. HIRE AN EXPERIENCED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ATTORNEY:
I know this may sound like an ad for our firm, but hiring an attorney, especially if you were denied at the initial application, will improve your chances of an award of disability benefits. The Social Security Advisory Board found that people who had an attorney at the initial application stage were more likely to be awarded benefits.
Look for an attorney who is certified in Social Security Law, one who has been handling Social Security cases and who has offices in your area. Insist on meeting the attorney in person before hiring him/her and don’t hire anyone who ‘phones it in. Read here for tips on what to look for in an attorney.