With 70% of all Social Security disability benefits claims rejected on initial application, there’s no way to guarantee your application won’t be one of them. But these tips can give you better odds of being among that lucky 30%:
Tip #1: Time Your Application Right
You can’t start receiving benefits until six months after the start of your disability, but it takes 3-5 months to get a decision. For many people, then, it makes sense to send in an application soon after you know your disability is going to last 12 months or more. However, if there’s any doubt your condition won’t last that long, your application may be rejected initially on the basis of that doubt. Make your application as soon as it’s certain your disability will last 12 months or more.
Tip #2: Make Your Application Complete and Truthful
When filling out your disability application, make sure you include all the symptoms from your disability, not just the major ones. Often it is some of the secondary details that may turn a decision in your favor. Also, make sure to list all your medications, including their side effects—sometimes the cure is worse than the disease when it comes to disability.
Never put a fraudulent statement on your application. A fraudulent statement on your application can completely ruin your chances of getting disability benefits.
Tip #3: Have an Attorney Assemble All of Your Medical Records
Sure, the Social Security Administration (SSA) says you don’t have to assemble all your medical records, that it can do that for you. However, an experienced SSDI attorney uses his or her knowledge to get each and every record, within the required format that the Administration needs.
Tip #4: Make Sure Your Doctor Completes a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form
The residual functional capacity (RFC) form is a place where your doctor can give a detailed account of the extent of your disability. This detailed description can include the necessary facts that will persuade the SSA that you are disabled.
Tip#5: Don’t Assume Silence Means Everything’s in Shape
Just because the SSA hasn’t said your application is incomplete, it doesn’t mean you can assume it’s fine. Check to make sure that all the documents you sent have been received and attached to your file. Check to see whether anything is missing.
Also check to make sure your employment history is up-to-date. Remember, to qualify for SSDI, you have to meet specific work requirements, and you may be disqualified if your work records are not current.
Tip #6: Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
There are many lessons about applying for Social Security disability benefits that have to be learned by experience. This is likely your first experience applying for disability, but an experienced disability attorney may have helped hundreds of applicants to get disability benefits and will have a better sense about how to assemble an application that is more likely to be approved. Learn How a Lawyer Can Help Your Social Security Disability Benefits Claim.
Tip #7: Don’t Be Discouraged by a Denial
Remember, more than two-thirds of all applications are denied initially. You can appeal any decision by the SSA. In fact, there are many appeal steps available, so don’t lose hope yet.
Even if you made the initial application yourself, when you have been denied, it’s time to talk to a lawyer who can give you better strategies for succeeding with your appeal, whether it’s a reconsideration appeal or an appeal hearing.
To learn more about making a successful Social Security disability benefits application, please contact us today.