Struggling with getting Social Security Disability benefits?
Each year, over 2,000,000 individuals apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, 7 out of 10 people who apply for disability benefits are initially denied.
There are things you can do to improve your chances of being approved for Social Security disability benefits. These tips are not fail-safe, but they provide a great starting point and can put you ahead when beginning your claim.
Know and understand the SSA definition of “disability”.
The SSA defines a disability as a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months or will prove fatal, and that prevents you from earning wages above the substantial gainful employment amount.
Another important item to note is that just because your medical provider says you are disabled, doesn’t mean the SSA will automatically consider you eligible for benefits. Having documentation from your provider is extremely important and helpful to your claim, but your provider is not a decision-maker in your SSA disability claim.
Educate your doctors about your symptoms and limitations.
If you are claiming certain conditions disabling, your medical records need to support these claims. Being completely honest with your medical provider is essential. Document your symptoms. Document their frequency, severity, and how they limit your life. Keep these records current and share them with your medical provider at each appointment so they can reevaluate these conditions and change treatments if necessary.
Limitations such as difficulty maintaining personal care, cooking or cleaning your home, and the inability to stand, sit, or walk for long periods of time…all of these types of limitations need to be documented. Then be sure to document and discuss the symptoms that come from these limitations: dizziness, weakness, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, inability to focus, depression, and memory loss. The more details you provide, the better.
Here is a good example of symptom and limitation documentation:
An extreme headache behind my eyes that lasts for 12-14 hours and requires me to rest in a dark room. My pain level is a 9 out of 10, and I’ve had to miss work 6 days this month for them. I’m unable to do anything at home except rest in a dark room.
Continue to receive medical treatment/healthcare.
Medical records and statements from your medical provider are VITAL to your disability claim. If you do not have health insurance, Medicaid may be available to assist with your medical care.
It is imperative that when your provider establishes a medical care plan for you, you follow the plan. Keep your appointments. Avoid canceling and/or rescheduling appointments. Gaps in your medical treatment may be harmful to your case.
Have all needed documents ready to go when beginning the application process.
Filing for SSD can be a confusing, time-consuming, discouraging process. In fact, upon initial application, 70% of first-time applicants are denied simply due to missing information or errors in the application. This shows the importance of having legal representation that not only understands the SSD process but also has experience navigating the process.
At Parmele Law Firm, our legal team has a combined 130+ years of SSD experience. We have helped over 55,000 individuals receive a favorable decision for SSD benefits. Honestly, it just makes sense to trust the attorneys of Parmele Law Firm to guide you through the social security disability application process.
Be patient and stay in touch.
Obtaining social security benefits can take time. Only the SSA can make a decision regarding your application, benefits, and approval. Also, the SSA can move as quickly or as slowly as they wish. Sadly, your SSD attorney has no bearing on how fast or slow the SSA takes to make a decision.
Lastly, and possibly one of the most important, is that you stay in touch with your legal representatives and keep them abreast of any changes in contact information, medical conditions, and records. Making sure your legal team has your current phone number and address is crucial to being able to inform you of hearings, requests, and other important pieces of information. If you are unreachable and a hearing or appointment is missed, the deciding judge could very easily deny your application for benefits. Unfortunately, this is done often when a client is unable to be located.
What does all this mean if you are considering filing for SSD benefits? Obtaining legal representation to guide you through the SSD application process is your best chance of being approved for benefits. At Parmele Law Firm, we provide a no-cost consultation to review your situation and advise on how to proceed. Also, we do not get paid unless you receive your benefits. Having the legal team of Parmele Law Firm representing you at no cost until we gain your benefits? It seems to be a no-brainer!