Each and every year millions of Americans apply for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, about 70 percent of these applications will be denied. While many applicants will go on to successfully appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits, the appeal process can take years to complete. This can mean years without a source of income, which can cause serious financial devastation. How can you avoid the lengthy Social Security Disability appeal process? If you don't want to wait years before your disability benefits begin, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of receiving a favorable decision during the initial stage of the application process. Keep the following advice in mind when submitting your application for Social Security Disability benefits.
Discuss Your Plans with Your Doctor
Before you apply for Social Security Disability benefits you should talk with your doctor about whether or not he or she will support your disability claim. Your doctor will be asked to provide a written statement as to the severity of your condition and whether or not your condition prevents you from being able to work. If your doctor does not think you are disabled or does not understand just how much your condition impacts your ability to perform work-related activities, it could result in a denial of Social Security Disability benefits. This is why it is important to discuss your disability with your doctor and your plan to apply for disability benefits before you submit your application to the SSA.
Get Copies of Your Medical Records
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, make sure you include copies of your medical records with your initial application. While the SSA may try to obtain records on your behalf, it is a good idea to get copies yourself so you can be sure nothing vital is missing from the records that will be reviewed by the SSA. Providing records with your initial application may also help decrease the time it takes for your claim to be processed.
Follow All Recommended Treatments
When the SSA is reviewing your claim for disability benefits, they will be looking at what treatment you have undergone and how you responded to prescribed treatments. If you have not cooperated with the treatments that have been recommended by your doctor, it can actually hurt your claim for disability benefits.
Some people make the mistake of avoiding treatment, thinking it will improve their condition and hurt their chances of receiving disability benefits. This is not the case. It is important that you follow any and all treatment prescribed by your doctor in order to qualify for Social Security Disability payments.
Cooperate with the Examiner
The SSA works with millions of disability applicants each year. The examiners who review these claims do not have the time to stay on top of every single applicant they work with. You need to cooperate with the examiner who is reviewing your claim to make the application process go more smoothly. Respond to any and all letters or notices that are sent to you and make sure you attend any medical exams that are requested by the SSA. If you do not cooperate with the examiner, it may result in a denial of Social Security Disability payments.
Call for Status Updates
Make sure you call the Social SSA on a regular basis to get a status update regarding your disability claim and to make sure the Social Security Office is not missing any important information necessary to process your claim. If the SSA notifies you of missing information during these status updates, do whatever you can to help them obtain the information they need. Staying on top your claim and keeping in contact with the SSA can increase your chances for approval and may expedite your claim.
Hire an Attorney
A qualified Social Security Disability attorney can help you file the proper paperwork and acquire the right medical documentation. In event your disability claim is denied, an attorney will be able to file a request for reconsideration on your behalf. By helping through this complicated process, a disability attorney will be able to alleviate the stress associated with applying for disability benefits. Statistics show that hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer can help increase your chances of successfully filing an initial disability claim. A disability lawyer does not get paid unless you are awarded benefits.