Do you have a medical condition that prevents you from working? Maybe you are feeling pain, discomfort, or can’t work anymore. If so, then you likely need to file for disability benefits. However, the process of filing for Social Security Disability or SSI can often be long and grueling. Your claim must be filed correctly. However, the process of filing a claim can often be long and grueling. Your claim must be filed correctly.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs that provide income support to individuals who cannot work because of a disability or medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death. These programs offer cash benefits and help with expenses such as housing, transportation, and medical care — including long-term care — if you qualify. Here are some tips on how to file for Social Security disability benefits:
One of the first things that you need to consider is getting an advocate or representative on your side. Sometimes, it may seem like having someone else help can be an unnecessary burden, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you live in San Jose or San Francisco, CA, then you should reach out to Disability Advocates at the San Jose office. They provide a free consultation to learn how they can help you apply with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Your initial consultation will include information about your disability or impairment and its impact on your ability to work. During this meeting, an advocate will help you gather the necessary medical evidence needed to prove that your condition is expected to last at least twelve months or result in death. Afterward, if their law office determines that they cannot take your case, they will provide referrals. If not, they’ll start preparing your case immediately by gathering paperwork and scheduling necessary appointments for you with qualified medical professionals experienced in disability cases.
Advocates are also responsible for representing you throughout the entire application process. They will monitor your case and any correspondence with the SSA to make sure that deadlines are met. Then, they’ll help determine whether or not you should appeal a denial of benefits before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Another thing that can be extremely helpful is to have a professional medical help you out with your claim. This person will need to fill out any necessary forms and attach them to your lawsuit. These forms are typically completed by a primary care physician, psychiatrist, counselor, specialist, or advanced nurse practitioner. These people have diagnosed you with an impairment(s) that prevents or limits your ability to work at their occupation level due to pain and restrictions of activities. These reports must be submitted promptly not to delay the processing of your application being scheduled for you by the Security Administration.
In addition to the medical evidence from your primary care physician, it is crucial to provide a copy of any previous lab results or other supporting documents that you feel will help establish your claim for disability benefits. These documents need to be less than three years old unless they are older medical records. In that case, they must be submitted with proper Medical Necessity Documentation signed by treating healthcare professional(s), which explains why the past medical history needed to be used instead of current reports.
Lastly, you will need to gather all necessary documentation and submit it to your representative in an organized fashion. This person can then ensure that everything is received and processed by the Social Security Administration. The most common forms that you need to include with your claim are:
- A list of any benefits or awards received from work-related injuries
- Documentation for health insurance payments
- Documentation for all prescription drugs
- Proof of income (e.g., paycheck stubs)
You should also provide documentation if you have been hospitalized, had surgery, or required any other procedure over the last two years. This information must include dates indicating when these things happened, what kind of procedure you had, and any pertinent medical information.
If you cannot gather all of this information yourself, it may be helpful to meet with your representative early on in the process. It’s essential that all forms are filled out correctly and submitted on time. When this is done incorrectly, it can significantly delay the processing of your claim. Now that you have an idea about what goes into filing a disability claim, it may be easier for you to get started.