With a disability that prevents you from earning a living, you’re already likely facing financial hardship. Waiting for a disability decision is therefore a frightening prospect. Unfortunately, there is no way for most applicants to force the issue or skip review steps. There are however ways to eliminate common delays with the disability determination process. With the following hints, you can potentially get your claim processed more successfully and quickly.
Fill Out Your Application Accurately and Completely
Any missing or conflicting information in your Social Security Administration (SSA) disability application can delay the processing of your claim. If you don’t include accurate contact information for a doctor or hospital, for example, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to which your claim is assigned cannot easily obtain the information they need.
Submit Your Medical Evidence Directly to the SSA or DDS
The disability examiner to whom your claim is assigned at the DDS must obtain your medical records to decide if you’re eligible for benefits. Get copies of your medical records and submit them directly to the local SSA or DDS office. This can potentially shorten the time it takes for your application to go through all of the necessary reviews.
Submit New Evidence as it Becomes Available
You may have new medical evidence that becomes available while the DDS reviews your claim for benefits. Submit copies of all new medical records to the DDS directly for inclusion in your disability case file.
Keep Your Healthcare Providers Informed
Your doctor must provide records, opinions, and other information to the DDS. Be sure to keep your doctor informed about your application and the progress of your claim so he or she response quickly to DDS requests.
Respond Quickly to SSA or DDS Communications
The SSA and/or DDS may request additional information from you. You must respond quickly to all requests, usually within just 10 days from the date of the letter or questionnaire you receive in the mail. Failing to respond causes significant delays and may even result in a dismissal of your claim.
Check-in Regularly with the SSA
There are so many new applications for disability filed every day and the DDS often runs behind schedule with claims and claim-related communications. Let them know you’re tracking your claim and expect an answer. Find out if your doctor needs a reminder about submitting records to the DDS or if there are other hang-ups you can address that will get your claim moving forward again.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim
Consulting a disability attorney or advocate is optional when applying for benefits, but can potentially increase how quickly you receive a decision from the SSA. An attorney can advise you throughout the entire process, even before you submit your application. He or she can additionally check on the status of your claim regularly, putting pressure on the SSA and DDS to finalize things for you as soon as possible. If you must appeal a denial, legal representation increases your chances of winning by as much as 60 percent as well.