Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be very tedious and stressful if the applicant isn’t equipped with knowledge about the overall process. Social Security disability benefits are granted to people who have a medical condition that inhibits them from performing their job for at least a year. The application and supplemental documentation submitted are carefully reviewed to determine if a person qualifies for benefits. Following certain steps during the application process can help prevent unnecessary delays and increase the chance that a qualified applicant will receive benefits.
Start the application process as soon as possible once your condition fulfills the disability requirements. Fill out the disability application online at the Social Security website or call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to request that an application be mailed. Alternatively, set an appointment at the local Social Security office to fill out the application in-person at the location. The length of time needed to complete the disability application varies per applicant, and it may take four to five months for a decision to be reached regarding disability benefits once the application has been submitted. As a result, it is advisable to begin the process immediately.
Seek assistance from an attorney, a representative in the local Social Security office or a qualified individual while completing the application. People experienced with handling disability claims can let you know if all of the necessary information has been provided in the application. They can also let you know if the application and supplemental documentation appear to adequately substantiate the disability claim.
Continue to receive regular, ongoing medical treatment, as needed. Request of the physician that he write thorough notes regarding the status of your medical condition and why it impedes your ability to return to work. Explain that this information will be referenced by the Social Security Administration when reviewing your disability claim. Medical records serve a crucial role in helping the disability examiner determine if the medical condition is severe enough for a disability claim.
Request copies of medical records from all of the medical facilities that provided treatment related to your disability. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 45 CFR §164.524 requires that health care providers give patients copies of their medical records upon request. Review the medical records to confirm that all of the information is correct and accurately reflects the status of your medical condition. Request that any discrepancies in your medical records be corrected immediately. Submit your medical records with the application instead of waiting for the records to be submitted by the medical providers. This can help expedite the amount of time spent reviewing the claim.
Check the status of your claim. Call the local Social Security office and request the contact information for the disability examiner handling your case. Make sure all of the necessary paperwork has been received by the examiner. Find out whether there is any additional information you need to provide. Sometimes the Social Security Administration loses paperwork and sometimes notices that they send you aren't delivered. Remaining informed about the status of your case will help prevent any unnecessary delays in the processing of the application.
Pamela Parker became a freelance writer in 2009. She has worked in bankruptcy law since 2007. She writes extensively on bankruptcy and financial topics, with her work appearing on various websites. Parker has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.