Five Helpful Hints about Your Social Security Disability Claim
By: W. Chad Winebarger
Charlotte, North Carolina Disability Attorney
The Bollinger Law Firm, PC
Below are five hints that should help you if you are pursuing a claim for Social Security disability benefits:
- You should provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the contact information for all doctors that have treated you for any conditions that contribute to your disability. You should also provide the SSA with a list of the prescriptions you are taking. The SSA requests this information on a report that you complete when you initially apply for benefits and when you appeal a denial of benefits. Providing the correct information for both your doctors and prescriptions should not be overlooked.
- You should follow your doctor/s instructions and explain to your doctor/s everything that is bothering you. Doing this will help to put the doctor in the best position to evaluate and treat you. It should also help in your claim for disability benefits because the doctor will be able to properly document in your medical records the conditions that keep you from working.
- The majority of initial claims for disability benefits are denied. If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to appeal the denial, either by filing a “Request for Reconsideration” or a “Request for Hearing,” depending on where you are in the application and appeal process. If you do not appeal the denial within 60 days, you will likely have to start the process from the beginning, unless you can show that you had a good reason for not appealing the denial in a timely manner. You can complete the appeal online at the SSA’s website, over the phone or in person at your local SSA office.
- The SSA considers certain medical conditions disabling, but most people applying for disability benefits do not have a condition that meets or equals one of these listed conditions. In most cases, in order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must prove that you can not perform your former job or jobs in addition to any other jobs that are generally available in the national economy. Therefore, just because your local community does not have any jobs that you can perform, does not necessarily mean that you will automatically qualify for benefits.
- In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must not be engaged in what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA means that you are earning a certain amount per month. In 2010, SGA for a blind person is $1,640 and for a non-blind person is $1,000. This amount usually changes each year. You can find a particular year’s SGA at the SSA’s website.
The above statements should not be construed as advice for a specific situation. You should consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.