If you have a medical condition that keeps you from being able to work and earn a living, you might be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two disability programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is based on work history, so you must have worked the equivalent of five years full-time out of the last 10 years. SSI is a needs-based program that doesn't require work credits and has strict income guidelines. There are several tips that you can follow when it comes to learning how to successfully apply for SSDI. Applying for SSDI is complicated and requires attentiveness and an eye for detail. You need to adhere to the guidelines and follow the instructions precisely.
The Importance of Paperwork
One important aspect of knowing how to proceed with your disability claim is knowing how to gather all the documentation to support your claim. Documentation is detrimental to the success of any disability claim. Documentation that will support your claim includes copies of medical records, physician notes, and test reports. Maintain records that show how your life is impacted on a daily basis. Keeping a journal that shows your pain levels and what you can and cannot do on a particular day. Keep prescription records as well and note any side effects or symptoms that your medications and/or treatments cause you.
Your treating physicians should complete a residual functioning capacity, which indicates any restrictions or limitations your medical conditions inflict on you. You need to make sure that you don't leave out any of your symptoms, so the severity of your condition is made obvious so Disability Determination Services understands why you cannot work.
Here's a little more information on what medical information to include in your SSDI claim.
Listing The Symptoms Precisely
One important step in how to successfully apply for disability involves clearly and accurately listing and describing all your symptoms. As an example, if you suffer from a condition that causes excruciating headaches, dizziness, nausea, and extreme fatigue, you need to list all of those symptoms and explain in detail how they impact you. As an example, if the dizziness keeps you from standing more than 30 minutes at a time, be sure to note that. If your medication for dizziness causes you to fall asleep or leads to nervousness, that should also be indicated. By clearly noting your symptoms, you are doing a better job explaining how your conditions affect you and limit your ability to work.
Consult With An Attorney or Advocate
One important step in how to successfully apply for SSDI is consulting with an attorney or advocate. With the help of an experienced disability representative, you can significantly increase your odds of winning approval of your claim. Especially on the hearing level, your odds of being approved for benefits increase to 60% with the help of an attorney or advocate. Your attorney will usually work for a percentage of your back pay, so you have no upfront expense. If a medical condition is keeping you from working, talk with an attorney today.
You can speak with a Social Security disability advocate or attorney by filling out our Free Disability Evaluation.