Applying for disability benefits is often a time-consuming and frustrating process. The SSA denies most initial applications, and most people have to wait months or even years before finally getting an approval for benefits. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you with your application and make sure that you avoid mistakes that could delay the process. Learn more about how to apply for disability benefits below.
Submitting a Social Security Disability Application
You can apply online, via phone, or in person at a Social Security office. To maximize the success of your application, it’s important to remember that you must establish that:
- You have a disability, and
- Your disability impairs your ability to doing work that you are qualified to do.
In order to prove this, you will need to provide detailed, extensive information about your work and medical history. It’s best to work with an experienced disability attorney to make sure your application is complete and that you also meet important deadlines.
What Information Will You Need to Provide the SSA?
The SSA will require you to state a cause for your application, meaning that you must explain why you are no longer able to work and how your medical condition limits the kind of work you can perform.
It can be difficult to hunt down all of the information listed below. That’s why it’s important to request documents from your medical providers and past employers early on in the process, or even before you apply. Sometimes, an attorney can request necessary documents and get a response faster than you would.
You must provide the SSA with the following information:
- Date and place of birth;
- Social Security number;
- Information about current and former spouses; and
- Bank account information.
You must also provide the following documents:
- Your birth certificate;
- Proof of citizenship or lawful permanent resident status;
- Tax information (W2s or 1099s) for the past year;
- Medical documents related to your claim; and
- Workers’ compensation claim information.
Medical information you will have to submit includes the following:
- Contact information for medical providers (i.e., doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, counselors, and psychiatrists);
- Written statements from your medical providers including what you can and can’t do;
- Information about hospitalizations and other facilities you’ve received services from;
- Medication and prescription list; and
- Medical tests your doctors have ordered.
The SSA will review your work history and determine whether you are able to do similar work. You will have to provide the following information:
- Total amount of income you’ve earned this year and last;
- Names and contact information of former employers;
- Social Security statement, which can be obtained from the SSA;
- Information related to military service;
- Details about the work you’ve done over the past 15 years; and
- Workers’ compensation and related benefits.
Tips for Filing a Successful Disability Application
When completing the application, make sure you completely fill out each answer, and don’t leave any questions blank. Be thorough and concise in your explanations. Do not simply say “yes” or “no” unless the question specifically asks for a one-word answer. Instead, give detail that provides insight into your condition and inability to work. But don’t exaggerate or downplay your disability — be as honest and as accurate as possible.
Be as detailed as possible when you provide medical records. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to be approved upon application. Include all of the documents listed above with your application along with anything else your attorney feels is relevant.
Additionally, you should submit any medical documents that come in even after you’ve applied. Since you are likely continuing ongoing treatment, the SSA should be updated with each new record.
And don’t panic if your initial application is denied. The SSA will likely provide you with a reason for your denial. This will give you an opportunity to rectify the situation and find the needed information that was lacking the first time around.
How Long Will It Take the SSA to Respond?
It can take between three and six months to get an initial response from the SSA about your disability application. If your application was approved, you should expect to receive benefits within a few weeks. However, if your application was denied, don’t give up. Contact your disability attorney as soon as you receive your denial letter.
Since you only have a limited time in which to request an appeal, it’s crucial that you act quickly. Your attorney will also want time to gather additional evidence to support your case.
Learn More About How to Apply for Disability Benefits
The amount of paperwork involved in filing a disability application, as well as the process itself, can be overwhelming and confusing. The SSA wants as much information from you as possible to support your disability claim and prove that you qualify for benefits. An experienced disability attorney knows what they’re looking for, and can help ensure that your application is complete and accurate. To learn more about how to apply for disability, speak to Carmichael Law Group today.