Maybe you were diagnosed with a terminal or long-term illness and are no longer able to work. Or perhaps you suffered a severe injury that has left you physically incapable of performing the duties of your job or any job at all.
For whatever reason, you have decided to file for Social Security Disability. The sooner you talk to a Social Security Disability attorney, the better. When you hire an attorney, he or she can assist you in completing your Social Security Disability application, which can help increase your chances of success.
You may not realize this, but there are deadlines and rules that are strictly enforced when applying for disability benefits. Failing to meet a deadline or not following the rules can cause the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny your claim, no matter how severe your disability might be. Working with a lawyer right from the start can ensure that your case is up to par and has a better chance of succeeding.
This post includes:
- Social Security Disability Benefits Can Help
- Request a Consultation As Soon As Possible
- The Social Security Disability Application
- Required Documentation for a Social Security Disability Application
- Will My Disability Application be Approved?
- Help with Your Social Security Disability Application
We have more resources to help you in our Social Security Disability Resource Guide.
Social Security Disability Benefits Can Help
If you are like most Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck, one or two missed paychecks are all it takes to turn your world upside down. A severe illness, injury, or terminal diagnosis could change the course of your life for the worst. Not only do you have to deal with your medical care and symptoms, but now you don’t know how you will work to pay for even your most basic needs.
One option you have is to file for monthly Social Security benefits through the SSA. However, having your application accepted is often difficult. If you qualify, you will receive a monthly monetary benefit that is determined by your work history and the wages you earned over your career.
Request a Consultation As Soon As Possible
As soon as you start thinking about or know that you might qualify for Social Security Disability, reach out to an experienced disability lawyer. You do not automatically receive benefits if you are disabled, and there are deadlines for filing that you must follow. You have to complete an application and submit the required information and documents.
Your lawyer can review the circumstances of your illness and injury as well as other factors to determine whether you have a valid reason for requesting disability support. If he or she believes you have a case, you can engage the attorney to handle the claim for you. After gathering the necessary information and documentation, your lawyer can complete a Social Security Disability application on your behalf.
By working with a legal team, you may get your Social Security Disability approved sooner. In a small number of cases, an attorney can help move your Social Security Disability application along more quickly. This could be important for you if you are facing dire financial circumstances such as not having a place to live or if your medical condition is terminal.
In addition, a legal team can give you access to resources you wouldn’t have on your own. For example, you may need the help of a vocational expert who can help you fully explain your work history or speak to your ability to do other kinds of work.
The Social Security Disability Application
The SSA requires the submission of a lengthy application in order to begin the disability process. The application can be challenging and overwhelming, which is why many applicants turn to a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney for help. Depending on your age and other circumstances, your Social Security Disability application can be completed in the following ways:
- Online through the SSA website
- Over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213; or if you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778
- Visiting your local SSA office
- You must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least age 18
- Not be currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
- Be unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
- Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days
Required Documentation for a Social Security Disability Application
Your Social Security Disability application will require many different pieces of information, such as your bank account, your personal information, information about your dependents, how much money you make, and information about your current health and medical issues. The application will require specific information, such as:
- A list of the jobs (as many as five) that you had in the 15 years before you became unable to work and the dates you were employed at each of those jobs
- Information about your spouse – even if you are divorced, or they are deceased
- The names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics that you have been to for treatment of the illness or injury that gave rise to this claim
- Names of medications you are on and who prescribed them
- Types and dates of medical tests you have had, and which doctors ordered them
It can be a daunting task to gather all this information, and some applicants decide to hire an attorney to take on this duty for them.
Be aware that you will need additional documentation submitted along with your Social Security Disability application. It is imperative that you submit all required documentation. If you do not, your claim could be denied or delayed. Even if you do not have all these documents on hand, it should not keep you from hiring an attorney and moving forward. Your lawyer can even help you obtain these documents. You will need:
- Your birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Proof of United States citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
- United States military discharge paper(s) if you had military service prior to 1968
- W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
- Medical evidence already in your possession such as medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you received
Will My Disability Application be Approved?
Social Security Disability is a government program with strict requirements and regulations. There is no guarantee your application will be approved. However, there are many factors that could improve your chances of having your application approved:
If you are unable to work due to pain, mental illness, or other problems that are not obvious or visual, the SSA must find you credible for you to be approved for benefits. The SSA will corroborate your reports of symptoms and difficulties with what your friends, family, and even doctors say. What you say and do must match up to your medical reports. For example, an applicant who files for Social Security Disability for carpal tunnel syndrome and being unable to use their hands should not be able to easily complete forms at the doctor’s office or be seen rapidly and easily texting on their cell phone.
Your efforts in treatment
An applicant who follows the advice of their physician and other healthcare team members and who has sought complementary therapies such as acupuncture along with diet or lifestyle changes is much more believable than one who is not following medical advice.
The combined effects of multiple disabilities
Some applicants will have numerous disabilities. On their own, one of them might not be so bad. However, when coupled with other disabilities, it can cause the applicant not to be able to work in any type of capacity.
Your medical history
It’s important that your medical record shows the SSA that your disability prevents you from working. The best way to ensure this is to be honest with your doctor about the way your illness or injury is affecting your life. If there are activities you’re no longer able to perform, even if they don’t seem on the face to be work related, tell your healthcare provider to get it in your medical record.
Help with Your Social Security Disability Application
According to the SSA, as many as 70 percent of initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. If this happens to you, you do have the right to an appeal.
Whether you are applying for the first time or seeking help with an appeal, an attorney can help you. Lawyers who specialize in this field are familiar with which types of claims generally get approved and which ones don’t. The knowledge and experience of a passionate disability claims lawyer can help you get what you deserve. In some cases, hiring an attorney can make the difference between continuing your lifestyle or having to change it significantly.
Call Joyce & Bary Law for your Social Security Disability consultation. You can also use our convenient online contact form to get in touch with us. Our attorneys are waiting to help you. You likely have many questions and concerns. We can help alleviate your stress by addressing these and getting your application submitted sooner rather than later.