“Dos and Don’ts” for Increasing Your Chances of Winning Benefits

For many people, applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a difficult process.  A lot of applicants are denied after the initial application phase but that doesn’t have to be the case for you.  The best way to increase your chances of winning benefits, is knowing the Social Security disability system and understanding how it works.  Working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney is the best way to gain that inside knowledge of the system.

After helping more than 15,000 people just like you secure the disability benefits they deserve, our team put together this list of other things you can do to ensure your case moves in the right direction.

The “Dos”

 Preparation

  • Make sure you have all the paperwork required to submit your initial application. Click here for a complete list of things you’ll need.
  • Talk with your doctor and be sure he/she supports your claim for disability.  Ask your doctor to prepare detailed medical source statement that describes your medical condition and the specific reasons why you can no longer work. If your doctor doesn’t agree with your claim, you may need to get a second opinion.  You’ll need their support and a lot of information from them throughout this process.
  • Medical records are critical: provide the SSA with the names of all your medical providers and a list of treatment dates.
  • Fill out all SSA forms completely (no matter how personal the questions), including all information about your employment or medical histories.
  • Include copies of your medical records: submit these either with your application or shortly after you file.
  • Have all of your medical conditions treated: in making its decision the SSA will look at all of your combined medical conditions. Be sure that you seek treatment for all of your conditions and tell each of your medical providers about all of your symptoms and limitations so that they can understand the severity of your illness and why you can’t work.
  • Visit your doctor as they request and follow all of their instructions in terms of what you can physically do and medications you need to take.
  • While you may not need this to get started, consider if there are any witnesses that may be able to submit a letter on your behalf that confirms your disability. Your employer or even a caregiver you’ve had hire could be beneficial if your case is denied and you have to have a hearing.

Communication

  • Getting a decision on your claim can take a long time. If you feel that waiting on your claim is really going to impact you financially and create a hardship, consider filing a Dire Need Letter.  It can help speed up your hearing date.  This is something one of our attorneys can help you with.
  • Check on the status of your claim from time to time to make sure it’s not being held up for any reason. If you are working with an attorney, they will help with this as well but you should also ask your claims representative how and when you should follow up.
  • Always cooperate with the claims representative by responding to their requests in a timely manner.
  • Always tell the truth to everyone involved with your claim.

The “Don’ts”

Every case is different, but in general, here are a few things you should not do when you are trying to win Social Security disability benefits.

  • Collect unemployment benefits. Collecting unemployment could affect your ability to receive Social Security Disability benefits.  By applying for or receiving unemployment benefits you are stating that you are ready and able to work.  By applying for SSD benefits, you are indicating that you are unable to work.
  • Continue working with a doctor that is unsupportive of your claim. You want to find someone that can HELP you win your case, not prolong the process.
  • Continue working while you are applying for Social Security disability. Doing this shows you are able to work and may impact your end result.
  • Assume you can’t afford to work with an attorney. Many attorneys, like the team at Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, don’t collect a fee until you win your case.  Having an experienced attorney on your team can help you avoid some of the mistakes mentioned here.
  • Miss an appeals deadline. If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal.  If you miss that, you could lose the opportunity to challenge their initial decision.
  • Miss interviews or doctor’s appointments.
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

"I was able to win my SSD case in 5 months due to cancer. We've been struggling to make ends meet due to the high medical costs when I was working, but we wouldn't be able to pay our bills if I didn't win this case. I am very grateful to the paralegal, Allison, who worked very hard with the attorney to get this settled quickly! "

TOM & FAMILY

BUFFALO, NY
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