SSA Disability: 3 Secrets to Navigating the SSD System

Individuals who have become disabled and no longer have the ability to work may be eligible to seek benefits through one of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability benefits programs. But applying for benefits is a prolonged process. According to the Social Security Administration, the average wait time for disability adjudication hearings before an administrative law judge in Louisville is more than a year.

Depending on the SSA office handling your claim, the time for resolving SSD claims ranges from 11 to 15 months. For many people with serious injuries and permanent disabilities, unpaid bills can pile up quickly. Without Social Security disability benefits, you could be struggling to provide for your family and maintain financial stability. Working with an experienced SSD attorney who understands the complex system, can help you avoid filing mistakes that make the wait even longer.

Obtain the Support of Your Doctor

When you file for disability benefits, your doctor will be required to submit your medical records. He can also fill out a form such as a Residual Functional Capacity form or a Medical Source Statement form to submit to SSA.  On these forms, the physician will detail your illness or injuries, along with the extent of your disability. How your disability affects your ability to perform work must be clear. As long as you have a doctor who supports your disability claim, you should be able to obtain the medical documentation needed in a timely fashion.

Keep Abreast of the Various SSA Disability Deadlines

Applying for SSD benefits involves a lot of paperwork. You’ll have an initial interview at the Social Security office and be asked questions about your condition and medical history. The Social Security Administration will obtain copies of your medical records to build your file. At the initial interview, ask how you can find the name and contact information of the claims representative who will be reviewing your file.

Your file will be forwarded to a state office that examines all disability claims and assigned to a claims service representative. Once you submit an initial application, you and your spouse may receive more detailed follow-up questionnaires to complete. The claims representative also will request information from your doctor necessary to make a decision on your case. Contact the claims representative and offer to help obtain the medical information needed to make a determination. Be polite and brief.

Working diligently to see that questionnaires are completed expediently can help avoid delays in processing your application.

Expediting an SSA Disability Application

Some disability applications receive expedited review. In our experience, the SSD applications of people who are homeless and wounded warriors tend to be reviewed more quickly.

The SSA uses specialized computer software to determine which applicants have a high probability of receiving a favorable response. Only about one out of every 25 applicants qualify for expedited processing. Once an individual’s application is chosen, it can be fast-tracked for a quick disability determination. Quick determinations can be made in as few as 20 days.

Individuals, who have a medical condition that is so severe it obviously meets Social Security’s definition of a disability, may receive a compassionate allowance to start receiving benefits quickly. Among the long list of conditions that qualify for compassionate allowances are:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Cancer of the gallbladder
  • Liver cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Inoperable kidney cancer
  • ALS
  • Those currently on the waitlist for a heart transplant

Hire a Disability Lawyer to Help Navigate the System

Approximately half of all disability claims are denied at first submission. This can be very disheartening to an individual who is simply trying to keep up with financial obligations and needs help. An experienced lawyer will be able to prepare a complete application and avoid unnecessary delays caused by incomplete information. We can assist in the appeal process if your initial application is denied. We know the Social Security Disability system and work with it every day. We know the administrative law judges who review claims and what they are looking for to approve a claim. The reason to hire us is because of our experience handling SSD claims. We have helped many individuals obtain disability benefits.

If you are interested in applying for Social Security disability benefits and want to get the application process started, we recommend you contact Becker Law Office today. We understand what it takes to help you present a solid application and keep the process moving forward.