If you’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it’s important to understand the process you need to follow. Not having the right evidence and forms can lead to delays in your claim being processed. It could even cause your claim to be declined, something nobody wants. Around only 36% of SSD claims are approved. How do you make sure yours is one of those?
Collecting Medical Evidence
One of the key things the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for is the right kind of evidence. Medical evidence backs up your claim of disability, because it comes from medical professionals. This means it’s important to collate all your medical records where possible. Medical records should show that you’ve been receiving medical care or treatment for your condition both recently and regularly.
The SSA can request medical information for you if you sign a release form, and it’s best if this information comes directly from your treatment providers. Speak to the doctor who has been personally treating you. Make sure they provide the necessary information so that the SSA is getting the information straight from the horse’s mouth, not via an electronic system or a staff member who don’t know your case.
The SSA will send a medical assessment form to your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows to expect it, and emphasize that the quicker it is returned, the better the chance your claim has of being processed efficiently. The SSA prefers medical evidence from the following licensed practitioners:
- Speech-language pathologists
The following types of evidence can support your claim:
- Lab findings (x-rays, scan results, test results etc.)
- Clinical exam results
- Current medication
- Any other prescribed treatment and how you are responding to it
- Full medical history
- A current diagnosis of your disability or health conditions
- Helpful Forms
Completing the Residual Functional Capacity Form
Ask your doctor to fill out a residual functional capacity form. This is a document that allows your doctor to state what impact your disability or health condition actually has on your day to day life. Most of the questions are fairly firmly geared towards physical disabilities, and assess your ability to walk, stand or sit for extended periods of time. However, there is a section in which your doctor can add other factors not addressed in the main bulk of the form, which would allow him to discuss any mental factors such as trauma or anxiety.
There’s also a section regarding pain, which allows a doctor to discuss possible chronic pain caused by injury or disability. Most importantly, this form allows your doctor to give his opinion of your fitness to work, and he can state if your condition is likely to worsen or not. If you’ve discussed with your doctor that you should remain off work indefinitely, or that your condition may degenerate, this can be added here and included with your initial SSD claim.
You can apply for SSD online, but make sure you have all the information and evidence you need before you start the process, or make sure your doctor is happy to provide any medical evidence required. Processing a claim without any evidence can lead to it being declined, and the appeal process can be long and drawn out. Remember, if your medical condition or disability will stop you working for at least 12 months, you are more than likely eligible to file a claim for SSD benefits.
Do you need a SSD attorney to help with your claim? Contact the Good Law Group online or by calling #(847) 577-4476 for a case evaluation.