Whether you attempt to apply for social security disability benefits on your own or retain an experienced social security disability attorney, there is a process on how to properly apply for benefits::
- Determine whether you are eligible for social security disability benefits,
- Gather the information you will need to apply for social security disability benefits,
- Ensure your medical records support your disability claim, and
- How a lawyer can help you apply for social security disability benefits.
Applying for Social Security Disability
Before you apply for social security disability benefits, you need to confirm that you are eligible for them – not every diagnosed medical condition will entitle you to benefits even if it causes difficulty in your employment and your everyday life.
The definition of disability as used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 404.1505. A qualifying disability is one that results in “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity” due to a physical or mental impairment that 1) will result in death or 2) is expected to last for more than 12 months.
The disability must prevent you from 1) performing the type of work you have done in the past and 2) performing “any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy.”
Because the SSA will deny your benefits if you do not meet their definition, it is critical that you discuss your disability with your doctors and ensure that your medical treatment. Medical records and medical testimony support your disability claim. Moreover, you must provide detailed documentation of your medical condition and your doctors’ opinions when you apply for social security disability benefits.
What Information Will I Need to Apply for Social Security Disability?
Once you have determined that you should be eligible for benefits, you next begin the process of gathering the information that you will need for your social security disability application, including your personal information, work history, and medical history.
Personal Information: You will need to provide personal identifying information for yourself and your family, including:
- Your birthdate,
- Where you were born,
- Your social security number,
- The name, birthdate, and social security number for your spouse,
- The name, birthdate, and social security numbers for any former spouses,
- The names and birthdates of any minor children, and
- Your bank account information so the SSA can directly deposit your funds – the routing and account number from one of your checks will do.
- A contact person who is familiar with your medical conditions and who can provide information to the SSA if needed,
Work History: You will also need to provide detailed information about your employment history, including:
- Your income for the current year and the prior year,
- The name and address of your employer(s) for the current year and prior year,
- A list of your employers for the past 15 years (up to five employers) and the dates of employment,
- Dates of your military service if it was prior to 1968, and
- Information about any workers’ compensation or disability benefits you have previously received from the government, employers, or the military.
Medical Information: You will need to provide detailed information about your medical conditions. Your medical records and statements from your doctors must be carefully prepared to maximize your chance of receiving benefits, including:
- Dates of treatment and contact information for all medical professionals who have been involved in your treatment,
- Your medications and who prescribed them, and
- All medical tests, the dates of the tests, and the names of the doctors who ordered the tests.
- Any doctors’ or healthcare providers’ statements and reports that support your disability claim.
Documentation: You will need to provide detailed documentation proving citizenship, work history, disability benefits previously received, and your medical conditions, including:
- Your birth certificate,
- Proof of citizenship or that you are a legal immigrant,
- Military discharge papers
- W-2’s for the prior year or tax returns if self-employed,
- Settlement agreements, pay stubs, or other proof of workers’ compensation or disability benefits that you have received in the past, and
- Detailed medical records.
Disability Benefit Application and Medical Release Form
Once you have gathered the required documentation, you must sign a medical release form and then submit your application – you can apply in person, by mail, or online.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Apply for Social Security Disability?
Do you need a lawyer to apply for social security disability benefits?
No, you can apply on your own, but…
Many people choose to get help applying for social security disability to maximize their chance of success and to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Your attorney can help you by:
- Reviewing your case and determining whether you are eligible for benefits before you apply,
- Filing out the required documents and submitting the application on your behalf,
- Reviewing your application for any mistakes or omissions that could result in denial of your benefits,
- Ensuring that you have complete and accurate medical documentation of your injuries or medical condition,
- Taking action to speed up the process by filing social security disability applications and supporting documentation on behalf of our clients, and
- Filing a reconsideration, requesting a disability hearing, or filing any necessary appeals on your behalf if your benefits are wrongly denied.
Social Security Disability Lawyers in Columbia, SC
If you have any questions about how to apply for social security disability and what type of documentation you will need, call the Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A. at 803-369-3968 or contact us through our website for a free consultation.
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