Filing for Social Security disability is not necessarily complicated, although getting to the point where your application is approved can be complicated, time consuming and frustrating. Fortunately, the actual application process is fairly straightforward. You can apply in several ways – on the phone, in person at a Social Security office, or online.
Applying Over The Phone
Before the online option was available, applying over the phone was the most popular option. You simply call the Social Security Administration, or SSA, and ask that the organization take your application over the phone. The representative will schedule you for an over-the-phone interview or an interview in person at the Social Security office.
When you call the SSA, you get the opportunity to talk with an actual person about your application. When you are interviewed over the phone, the representative can ask you all the necessary questions to ensure that the application is completed correctly.
Applying In Person
You have the option of walking into your local Social Security office to apply for Social Security disability. This may be frustrating, however. When you walk in without calling ahead to make an appointment, you may wind up waiting hours to be seen. That, or you may be given an appointment for an interview at a later date. For this reason it is always advisable to call first before going in person.
Applying online may be the most popular way of applying for Social Security disability. Applying online offers several advantages. It ensures that your application is processed as quickly as possible, it prevents you from needing to go in person to the Social Security office and it is convenient, as you can apply anytime, day or night.
The SSA offers a checklist for adult disability applicants, explaining all the information you need to have on hand to complete the online application. Some of the information you will need includes:
- Birth and Citizenship Information
- Marriage and Divorce Information
- Names and Birth Dates of Children
- Information About Your Military Service
- Employment Details
- Medical Information – Doctors, Healthcare Providers, Etc.
- Job History
- Education and Training
When you have gathered all of the required information, you are ready to begin the application process. You will find the online application on the SSA website, along with instructions on how to complete it. Although the system will guide you through the application, you should allow some time to fill in all the information. The application is detailed and requires a lot of details, which is why it is recommended that you use the checklist to get everything together before you start.
When you have submitted your application, the SSA will review it and inform you if it needs any further information from you. If more information is requested, you should submit it as soon as possible to prevent any further delays in your application. When the SSA has made a decision it will mail you a letter confirming or denying your application. The decision could take several months to arrive.
One Big Mistake SSI Claimants Often Make
A very common mistake that Social Security claimants make is assuming that their treating physicians will support their claim. Claimants believe that if the doctors are actually treating them, they will be happy to provide written documentation confirming the nature of the illness and the patient’s inability to work. This is often untrue.
Without a medical opinion providing a diagnosis, specific limitations, and a statement outlining a patient’s inability to perform gainful employment it will be very difficult if not impossible to win your case. Many doctors will not provide the necessary detailed information that will help you win your case. Understandably, physicians are interested in trying to remedy health problems not legal ones. However, there are many doctors who will take the time to provide additional letters and/or statements documenting medical restrictions and disabilities.
It is extremely important for those filing for Social Security benefits to speak to their physicians and find out whether or not they can support a claim for benefits. If your doctor is standoffish or indicates that he “doesn’t get involved with that” then you should find another physician immediately. If your doctor is not willing provide a brief statement or fill out a form documenting your restrictions that may say quite a bit about his or her interest in you as a person.
The most important factor in your approval for Social Security benefits is the availability of medical documentation, specifically addressing your diagnosis, physician restrictions, and inability to perform full time work.
Prepare For Denial
Although the number of applications denied varies from year to year, you should be prepared for an initial denial. The majority of Social Security disability applications are denied on the first attempt. If your application is denied, you will need to appeal the decision. At this point having an experienced Social Security disability attorney on your side can be extremely beneficial.
If you appeal you may need to appear in front of a judge to argue your case. It can take more than a year to see the judge, so you want to be prepared when you finally get your opportunity to appeal in court. At the Albany law firm of Paul Giannetti, I have helped numerous clients successfully appeal for Social Security disability, and I can do the same for you.
If you are considering applying for Social Security disability, or if you want to appeal a decision, contact me now for free consultation. Let me help you get the disability payments you deserve.