When seeking Social Security disability benefits, it is important to understand that the Social Security Administration (SSA) adheres to certain guidelines in determining whether or not to approve an application. There are certain points that must be remembered by those seeking benefits and a Lawrence Social Security disability attorney can help to clarify them. They include the following:
1) Start immediately.
Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are in a bad situation before applying for Social Security disability. Your financial situation will not be factored in when you apply. The decision will be based on the medical condition you are suffering from and your inability to work. Since the application process can take some time, it is better to start as soon as possible.
2) List all medical conditions on the application.
All of your medical conditions and illnesses must be listed on the application. Even if it is something that you do not believe is important, it is better to include it as the SSA might take a combination of medical issues into account when making its decision. For example, if you have suffered a back injury and are immobile, it might also lead to you experiencing depression. These might not be sufficient to receive an approval individually. When combined, they might be enough to be approved.
3) Keep a record of all medical information.
Medical information is key. The more medical evidence you can give the SSA, the better your chances of being approved. While the SSA will receive your medical records when you apply, it is rare that the full medical records will reach them immediately. Because of this, it is important to have a full set of documents to give to the SSA. No piece of information is too small.
4) Maintain a journal.
Keeping track of the pain and side effects you are experiencing with a daily journal can help your case. Make sure to include how the treatment you are receiving is affecting your daily life and whether or not you are able to work. Listing that which you can no longer do is also important. That can include anything from not being able to walk, having trouble sleeping, issues with memory and not being able to concentrate. If you are required to testify at an appeals hearing, your journal can help you to illustrate what you are going through.
5) Keep your doctors involved.
Your doctor can have a major impact on your claim for Social Security disability benefits. Make certain to inform your doctor that you are applying and ask that information and records about your medical issues are provided promptly. You should request that your doctor write you a letter in support stating the physical or mental limitations that your disability has caused and how your daily life is hindered by it.
6) Adhere to medical recommendations and take your medication.
Many claimants will find their claims have been denied because they didn’t follow up with their doctors or take their medication as instructed. Administrative law judges and disability examiners might take the failure to adhere to medical advice as a sign that the claimant’s medical condition is not severe enough to warrant benefits. Many claimants stop taking their medication because it is too expensive. Failure to continue with treatment will harm your case.
7) File an appeal if your claim was denied and do so immediately.
Claims are denied more often than they are approved and this can happen at any stage. You should be prepared for this and act accordingly with a plan to appeal the denial. Your chances of being approved are actually better when you appeal. You must remember not to hesitate. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving the letter denying your application. If you fail to follow the time restrictions, you might have to start the entire process all over again.
8) Keep track of your case.
You should retain a dialogue with your local Social Security Office and your lawyer to ensure your claim has no problems that could hurt your case. The SSA sends notices regarding the decisions it makes through the mail. Check your mail and inform all parties if you move.
9) Be honest and truthful.
Exaggerating your disabilities will not help you. It is best to be completely truthful. There might come a time when you will need to testify. A mistake that many applicants make is trying to tell the administrative law judge what he or she thinks will help the case. Getting caught lying is a sure way to ruin the case.
10) Hire a lawyer.
The legal system can be complex. One mistake can destroy the entire claim. Paperwork must be filled out, the application must be submitted, the case needs to be followed up on, appeals need to be handled appropriately and other issues need to be done correctly. An attorney will be experienced in the entire process and dealing with the SSA.
11) Keep trying and do not give in.
In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, you must be patient and persistent. While it can take a long time and you might be frustrated by the process, giving up is not an option.
Contact A Qualified Massachusetts Social Security Lawyer
For help applying for disability, call (888) 295-4955 to speak to a Massachusetts Social Security lawyer at the Palma Law Offices, PC today.