Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be a daunting task. It is estimated that only around 36 percent of initial SSDI claims are approved. Combine that with a live hearing waitlist that is currently 1.1 million people long, and an initial denial can have you waiting months or years for a shot at approval. What does that mean for you? It means the simplest mistake could set you back months, but there are ways to make sure you put your best foot forward when applying for disability benefits.
Six Ways to Strengthen Your SSDI Application
- Make Sure You’re Eligible– To receive SSDI benefits, you must first have the necessary work credits to qualify. For most, you generally need 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the 10 years before you became disabled. You earn these credit by working and paying income taxes, and at a rate of four credits a year, 40 credits should equal at least ten years of work.
- Is There Other Work You Can Do– When evaluating your application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not only look at your inability to work at your previous jobs, but they will check to see if there is any other work you qualify for that will accommodate your disability. Researching to find out if there is any other work you could do despite your injury may be big help before you apply for disability benefits.
- Don’t File for Unemployment– Though unemployment may seem like a good strategy to fill in the gaps in your budget, it could hurt your SSDI application. That’s because unemployment benefits are for able people, willing to work but unable to find a job. Applying for and receiving unemployment could be taken as an admission that you are still able to work, which could lead to the denial of your disability claim.
- Gather Your Medical Records– Before the SSA will award you any benefits, they will want solid evidence of a disabling injury. That makes your medical records key to a successful application. Make sure to collect them all, and to go through them to make sure they are correct, before sending your application. This will help prevent the SSA from denying your claim because it took too long for your records to come in.
- Fill Out Forms Properly the First Time– As we said before, simple mistakes can cost you months. Be careful to follow form instructions to the letter, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to contact a disability attorney. Your doctor can also help you fill out medical forms properly.
- Follow Up– You should also check in with the SSA to make sure they are receiving the evidence you sent in a timely fashion. This can prevent you from missing deadlines that could result in the denial of your application, and it is another service many disability attorneys perform for their clients.
Applying for Social Security disability is not an easy task, but with the right help, you may find that these obstacles are not as insurmountable as you originally thought. For more information on how to handle applying for SSDI benefits, keep following our Tulsa disability attorneys.