Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits can be a daunting task. All the sudden you are unable to work and have no income. You are faced with surviving while applying for benefits with the federal government’s largest agency. The first thing to realize is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is focused not only on your medical conditions, but other factors as well. The other factors that are important for your case is your age and past work experience from the last fifteen years.
Information with regards to your past work should be a brief summary of the jobs which you have done the last fifteen years. Include information about how much you lifted, how much you were on your feet and how much you sat at your past jobs. As for the lifting, don’t minimize the amount you lifted on a regular and occasional basis. As for standing/walking and sitting, break your day down in the number of hours you were doing one or the other. If your medical issues keep you from being on your feet, it is critical to show that you can no longer do those types of jobs. As for sitting, keep in mind that if you had jobs where you sat most of the day or you are under fifty years of age, that your current impairments must keep you from doing even that. That can include physical as well as mental impairments.
As for the medical information, focus on two categories. First is a list of all medications taken and the dosage. Constant changes in dosages of medications is also important, as it shows your current medical conditions are still not under control. Second, list of all doctors and medical providers that you have seen in the last year. Include any facilities that may have records such as: X-rays, MRIs, and lab results. These may show objectively that you have the claimed impairment. Also, any surgeries that you have had or are scheduled should be included.
Don’t forget to include any mental impairments as well. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, etc., include those as impairments. List any treatment and medications you take for your mental impairments as well. If you have had any hospitalizations do to your condition make sure to list them.
Once you have a list of the above information call your local SSA office to schedule an appointment to apply for benefits or apply online at SSA.gov. So then you may wonder, what happens next? After you apply SSA will request your records and send your file to Disability Determination Services (DDS) in the state you live for review. While it is under review, if you have new medical information, make sure to let SSA know. Someone from DDS may contact you to discuss your claim further. The process usually takes about three to five months for DDS to make a decision. It could be shorter or longer, be patient. After DDS reviews your claim they will issue a decision awarding you benefits or denying your claim. If you are awarded benefits, congratulations! If you are denied, DON’T GIVE UP! You are not alone, and there is still hope. If you are denied, you have the option to be represented. I am biased, but I think hiring an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney can make all the difference. If you are reading this, go to the Disability Evaluation section of this website and submit your case for review by me. In the alternative call me Chris L.Gore at 618-625-3525 for review of your case and a free consultation.