Social security benefits are not just for those who are of retirement age; they are also for those who have a disability which prevents them from working and properly supporting themselves and their family. Unfortunately, winning a social security claim isn't always easy and can be frustrating and overwhelming. However there are steps you can take to greatly increase your chances of winning your claim minus the stress; you simply need to know how to begin.
Things You'll Need
- Doctor's support
- Medical documentation
Talk to your doctor. This is the most important step there is when applying for Social Security. The support of your doctor and his documentation about your condition plays the most crucial role when the Social Security Administration makes its determination. If you have a condition that has left you unable to work, or hinders your ability to work enough hours to provide for your family, ask your doctor if he will support your decision to file a claim for Social Security benefits.
Enlist the aid of a law firm. Many law firms exist which specialize solely in Social Security cases. Some will only take your case if you have been denied the first time, while others will take your case from the very beginning, applying on your behalf with the Social Security Administration. The most publicized firm is Binder and Binder, a firm with a success rate of 99 percent. If you have a serious health condition and truly need to receive benefits, you will have greater success if you hire a law firm from the start. They will review your case first and if they feel they can win it, they will take you as a client. You pay nothing up front; all fees are paid once your case is won and are deducted from your settlement check.
Gather all documentation. Any and all health records you have regarding your condition need to be sent to your attorney once she agrees to take your case. The more documentation you have to show when you were first diagnosed, how your condition has become progressively worse and how it has affected your ability to work, the better it will help prove your case. You will also need to have your doctor fill out a form stating you are no longer able to work and why.
Contact your attorney. Once your attorney has applied on your behalf, you stay in contact only with him. He is the liaison between you and the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you receive any mailings from them requesting information, contact your attorney and let him know. In some cases, they may request that you be evaluated by one of their doctors. Your lawyer can prevent this from occurring, too, which increases your chances of winning your case. In addition, any documentation needs to be sent directly to your attorney, not to SSA.
Be patient. Even with an attorney, it can take up to 6 months for your case to be reviewed and a decision made. Most people are also denied with their first application, but do not let this discourage you. It doesn't mean your attorney didn't do her job; this is simply how the system operates. Remember, your lawyer doesn't get paid unless she wins your case. And she wouldn't have taken your case unless she thought she could win it.