As any Lowell Social Security disability lawyer will tell you, a complete and accurate application will improve your chances of being approved for Social Security disability benefits. Although you can apply for disability benefits without a lawyer, you may want to get a Lowell Social Security disability lawyer involved in your case from the beginning. A disability lawyer’s assistance may help you avoid mistakes with your application that can compromise or delay your claim.
The Social Security Administration provides three methods for applying:
- In person at your local field office
- By phone
- Online through the Social Security Administration’s website, www.ssa.gov or www.socialsecurity.gov. (You cannot apply online for SSI benefits.)
If you decide to apply by phone, you will need to call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment. At the scheduled time, a representative will call you to take your information. If you want to apply in person, it’s a good idea to call the 800 number for an appointment so that you don’t have to wait when you arrive at the field office.
Regardless of how you apply, you will need to complete two forms: the Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report. These forms request information about your work history over the past 15 years; your medical treatment and care providers; your medications; and your education and training. Before your appointment or before beginning your application on line, you will want to take some time to gather the necessary information.
The Social Security Administration provides a disability starter kit that you can print. It will help you regardless of which way to choose to apply. The kit contains a list of the information and documents you will need to complete your application.
Tips for filling out the forms
- It’s very important that you fill out the Application and Disability Report as completely and accurately as possible. The initial decision on your claim is based on the information you provide, so answer all the questions. Do not leave any blank.
- Answer each question in as much detail as possible. Too much information is better than too little.
- Describe each condition and symptom that affects your ability to work. Explain how these keep you from working. If you run out of room, use the “remarks” section at the end. Just writing down that you have arthritis or ruptured discs is not enough. The decision maker cannot tell from your diagnosis how you feel and why you cannot work. Although your diagnosis matters, your pain and other symptoms are what make you disabled.
- Review the forms for mistakes before you submit them. Make sure you have listed all your health care providers and provided correct contact information for them. Also make sure your name, Social Security number, address, and phone number are correct.
Your medical records
The disability examiner assigned to your case will contact the health care providers you list on your application to obtain your medical records. Your medical records are very important evidence of your disability.
To make sure that all your medical records get to your disability examiner without undue delay, you may want to collect and submit them yourself. You will need to collect your records for at least a year before you developed your disabling condition. Highlight or mark your name and Social Security number on each record, and make a copy of your records for you to keep. Mail or fax your records to your disability examiner.
If you undergo additional tests or treatment, collect these records, copy them, and send them to your disability examiner.
Get help with your application or appeal
Experienced Lowell Social Security disability lawyer Gerard A. Palma is available to help with both initial applications and appeals. Although a thorough and complete application increases your chances of success, unfortunately, it is not always enough. About two-thirds of all applications are denied initially including many deserving ones. The key to success is to appeal. A majority of applicants who appeal are ultimately awarded benefits.
If you would like help from a dedicated and compassionate Lowell Social Security disability lawyer, call or email us, or fill out the form on this page. We will respond promptly.
Gerard A. Palma, Esq.
Palma Law Offices, P.C.
Lowell disability attorney
45 Merrimack Street, Suite 330
Lowell, Massachusetts 01852