You might wonder why you should use the services of a New York disability attorney when applying for Social Security disability benefits. After all, the Social Security Administration approves applications based on your medical condition and your inability to work, and you’re obviously not able to work so your application should be approved without question, right? Unfortunately, that usually is not how the process goes. Your condition is apparent to you, of course, but it must be proven to the Social Security Administration. Denial of an application is common. Multiple denials, even, are far too common.
An experienced New York disability lawyer not only can more easily navigate through the complexities and intricacies of the process and the paperwork to be completed and then submitted by the set deadlines, but can also help guide you to a better understanding of your case and provide welcome support through all the stages of the disability benefits application process. More importantly, a disability attorney can improve your chances of winning and receiving the benefits that you deserve.
To improve your chances of a successful application approved by the Social Security Administration, follow the tips below, which emphasize the importance of timely submissions, constant communication, accurate information, extensive documentation and legal representation.
Don’t Delay: Apply Today
Since the Social Security disability application process can stretch out for months or even years, do not wait to apply. Submit your application as soon as possible. There is no need to wait until your finances are strained, since financial considerations are not a factor in the Social Security Administration’s decision about your eligibility to claim disability benefits.
Once your application is approved, you may be able to get benefits that predate your approval date. The date of your Social Security disability application is an indicator of when benefits should have been paid on that date and possibly earlier.
Identify Every Medical Condition
Be thorough when listing your medical conditions on the application. Do not omit the mention of any medical problem you are experiencing, no matter how minor the symptom might seem. In reviewing claims for benefits, the Social Security Administration evaluates your overall condition, level of functioning and ability to work. One or two issues on their own might not disable you, but the combination of multiple afflictions could be disabling.
Even if your medical condition is not on a list, you may still be considered disabled if you are impaired. However, it can be helpful if your condition is on the list of impairments. If you meet multiple requirements on an impairment listing, you may be approved automatically. If you don’t meet a listing, then the SSA will continue on to other considerations of disability.
Keep Visiting the Doctor Regularly
Although you may have seen many doctors in order to get a diagnosis, you will have to continue medical treatment throughout your disability. Your disability claim will be evaluated based on your medical records, which are cumulative. You should continue to see a doctor as often as they recommend. If you need to miss an appointment, you should reschedule at the earliest date possible.
The Social Security Administration will review all of your treating sources, which is what they call doctors and other medical care providers. They will review all records. You want to have good medical records that are completed with a plethora of information. The more visits you have with a doctor, the more that doctor should know about your disability. Thus, the SSA will likely be concerned with their ongoing treatment recommendations.
Take Prescribed Medications
The Social Security Administration will see which prescription medications doctors have prescribed to you in your records. You may be asked if you are following doctor recommendations and taking those prescriptions. Failing to take prescriptions may be considered failure to follow doctor’s orders. If you do not abide by treatment recommendations, your Social Security Disability application may not be approved. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will likely not be concerned with excuses and explanations, even if you felt you had no way to obtain medications. You are expected to follow a treatment plan.
Don’t Throw Any Relevant Documentation Away
The Social Security Administration reviews your entire medical record. The more objective evidence that you can produce to prove the existence and extent of your medical condition, the stronger your claim will be in the eyes of the reviewers. Keep all related documentation, which could include doctors’ notes in your chart, receipts from travel to appointments, receipts for purchases of prescriptions, discharge summaries from hospital stays, records of emergency room visits, results of blood work and diagnostic tests, referrals to specialists and more. Organize all of the documentation and keep it handy for review by your New York disability lawyer or for submission to the Social Security Administration in support of your application or subsequent appeals.
If Denied, Reply at Once and Try Again
The Social Security Administration frequently denies applications for disability benefits. Prepare for the possibility of denial, and plan to appeal. If denied, appeal at once. You are allowed only 60 days to file any appeal, so it is important that you don’t delay. If you miss the deadline to appeal, then you will be forced to begin again with a new application.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication, both written and verbal, is crucial for the success of your disability claim.
- You should communicate with yourself in the form of a daily journal, recording how you feel, your pain levels, your response to treatment and your limitations in your day-to-day life.
- Of critical importance is communication with your health care providers, both about your intent to file a disability claim and about the details of your follow-up care. Your doctor needs to respond in a timely manner to any requests from the Social Security Administration for information about your condition. If possible, have your physician write a letter of support for your application, detailing your limitations and the impact your medical conditions have on your ability to work. Be sure you are clear about the recommended treatment prescribed by your doctor, and follow all directions for medication, follow-up appointments, etc.
- Communicate with the Social Security Administration about the status of your case, and regularly check your mail for correspondence requesting additional information or specifying important deadlines. Keep the administration informed of your current address at all times.
- Check in regularly with your attorney for updates on your case or to share additional information about your care or condition.
Be Cordial With Anyone Working Your Case
The Social Security Administration has many over worked people on staff, and you should always treat them with politeness. Even if you feel your case has been mishandled, you should remain calm and discuss your case with people. Do not lose your temper with people at the SSA or the ALJ during a hearing. You never know how much influence a person has over your case.
Always Tell the Truth
Do not exaggerate your symptoms or stretch the truth about their impact on your ability to perform daily tasks. Resist the temptation to make your condition appear more debilitating than it might be. Do not provide the answers you think might help win your case. Instead, be honest at all times. Be truthful in your recounting of the symptoms that you experience. Do not lie about the tasks that you are and are not able to do because of your medical condition. Be candid about your condition at every step of the process, from the initial application to any appeals to any testimony you might be called upon to provide before an administrative law judge. If you are caught in a lie, then you almost certainly will lose your case.
The application process for obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be lengthy. This is especially true if your initial or subsequent applications and appeals are denied. Do not give up, though. Continue to file appeals if possible. Have patience, and be persistent despite the frustrations you might encounter along the way.
Hire an Experienced New York Disability Attorney
Focus on your health without the added stress of bureaucracy. Call an experienced New York disability attorney at Hermann Law Group, PLLC to handle the paperwork and details of your case.