Applying for SSD/SSDI can be a lengthy and stressful process. Although there is no guaranteed way to win your case, what you do during the process can make it go as smoothly as possible.
Create A Comprehensive Application
To speed up the process or at least prevent delays, it is important to create a comprehensive application when you file. Spend time adding as much specific information as possible about doctors and specialists you have seen related to your treatment. This will include doctor's names and contact information. Additionally, if you visited a hospital or outpatient setting related to your condition, you will want to include this information so Disability Determination Services (DSS) can ask for your medical records. It also helps to include a specific date range. If you were treated many years ago, try to find updated information on the medical facility. Doctors may retire or change practices, so you may need to find out who has your old records. Some people choose to include copies of medical records they have. This information can help with the application process, but DSS will still need official records.
Stay On Top Of The Application Process
You may want to make notations on a calendar when you submitted your application or if you receive any phone or mail correspondence from DSS. This can help you determine if you should call to check on the status of your claim if you have not heard any updated information within the normal time frame. There may be times when DSS needs additional information or they may request an evaluation by one of their doctors. It is important to return any information promptly and attend all appointments. Even if you have a solid case, you will be denied if you fail to comply with any of their requests.
Be Prepared To Appeal
Most people are not approved for SSD/SSDI on the first try and will have to appeal the decision. While you are waiting for a determination on your initial application, you should start researching the appeals process and what can be done to put the odds in your favor. You will likely find it is necessary to hire a lawyer to aid in your appeal. To find a lawyer, look for local options that specialize in SSD/SSDI appeals. Most lawyers who work on appeals cases have free consultations or may only require payment for their services if you win. If you cannot find an affordable lawyer nearby, see if there are Legal Aid services in your area. The opportunity to have a lawyer for an appeal is important for many people so they have a voice at the hearing. Unlike the initial application, this is an opportunity for a judge to hear how your condition truly affects your ability to work.
Knowing what to expect when applying for SSD/SSDI will make the process quicker and less stressful. If you are denied, having the support of a lawyer, such as from Waycaster & Allred, can make it easier to win on appeal.