Being disabled and unable to work due to a serious illness or injury is financially despairing. No one wants to have their ability to provide for themselves and their family stripped away from them but when it occurs, social security disability (SSD) benefits are there to help people to get through financial hardship.
Unfortunately, so many people have tried to game the system by filing false disability and workers’ compensation claims that the process of getting benefits is harder than it should be. If you’re looking to obtain supplemental security income (SSI), then you need to be prepared for the road ahead as it can be long and bumpy. Consider this short guide as your roadmap through the process of filing a claim for social security disability benefits.
1. Make sure your application is fully completed and accurate.
One thing you need to understand about filing for SSI is that the process is a marathon and not a sprint. It can take up to six months to get a decision and if your disability claim is denied the first time around, then getting your benefits can take a year or more.
One of the main things that lengthen the process of being approved for SSI benefits is inaccurate paperwork. The best thing you can do to help the social security administration make the application process speedy is to make sure that you dot your i’s and cross your t’s when filling out your application.
Because of COVID-19, many government institutions are furloughing workers, leaving them with less capacity to serve people. Even the mail has slowed considerably all over the United States—especially in rural areas— as even post offices have had to cut back as part of their COVID-19 precautions. That means it’s even more imperative that you fill out your application correctly. If you have inaccuracies in your paperwork, then it could take a while for the SSA to catch the problem and even longer to correspond through the mail. Every error adds time to your waiting period, so be thorough and truthful so the SSA can process your disability claim and get you your SSD income.
2. Keep detailed health care records.
The decision about your social security disability claim will be based on your medical condition as determined by your doctor, so it’s critical that you make it to all of your in-person visits at the doctor’s office. Whether your disability claim is due to a personal injury or debilitating illness, you have to make it to all of your appointments. In fact, you need to make sure that you and your primary caregiver and any specialists you see are in lockstep throughout the application process.
If you have an illness that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19 than most people, then it may be in your best interest to forego in-person care and opt for virtual visits. Due to the current public health emergency, more and more medical centers across the United States are offering telehealth patient care.
Whether you need cardiac or cancer care telemedicine, you should be able to find health care providers in your area that offer telehealth patient care. Virtual or in person, it’s of the utmost importance that you continue to see your doctor and stick to your treatment plan. Not doing so could cause the SSA to deny your social security disability insurance.
3. Hire a disability attorney to help you with your disability benefits claim.
When you’re going through the initial claims process for your SSD benefits, it’s important for you to temper your expectations. Only about 30% of initial claims are approved, and only an additional 13% are approved during the appeals process. If you take your disability claim to trial, then you’ll need legal advice from an experienced disability attorney.
Before you decide on a disability lawyer to handle your disability benefits claim, be sure to do your homework. If you’re looking for disability lawyers in Fayetteville North Carolina, The Bishop Law Firm offers free case reviews which is an excellent opportunity to get some valuable information before making your decision.
4. Don’t work if you can’t work.
As mentioned previously, the disability claims process can be lengthy and takes at least a few months on average. If you’re denied and decide to appeal the process, then you’ll have an even longer process to deal with. Even though not being able to work while waiting on your disability benefits puts you at a financial disadvantage, don’t risk your benefits by working until the last minute during the application process. Working will only hurt your claim, and the SSA will require reimbursement and may recommend prison time if they feel you’ve filed a false claim.