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How to File for Social Security Disability
Anyone who thinks they are entitled to receive Social Security Disability (SSI or SSDI) benefit payments can go online and fill out an application provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on its website. (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/) But like everything else, the results are usually better when a professional assists you with all the details needed to file a complete, persuasive, high-quality claim.
M.J. Ellis Disability Law Office specializes in preparing, filing, and advocating for the best SSD benefits claim possible in your individual case. Our entire legal practice is devoted to fighting for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for our clients in Northern New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Don’t struggle through the SSD or SSI application process alone. Your claim will be professionally drafted, supported by medical documentation, and easily processed by the Social Security Administration’s claim assessors.
What You Need to File A Proper Social Security Disability Claim
Deciding whether you are eligible for SSD benefits is the first big question.
- Work Credits — The Social Security Disability program requires each benefit recipient to have worked and paid Social Security taxes for long enough to earn a certain number of work credits. Generally, 40 credits (4 per year) are necessary, but younger benefit claimants may qualify with fewer.
- Qualified Disability — A qualified disability is defined by the SSA as “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, lasting or expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death), that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activities.” In 2022, that means that the disability must prevent you from earning more than $1,350 per month ($2,260 if blind).
The key to filing a successful Social Security Disability application is to gather together every bit of supporting evidence, all the medical records, lab test results, and all the necessary background information relating to your education, employment history, and a full description of how and when you first became disabled. Collecting and organizing all these details can be a real challenge for someone suffering an illness or injury that prevents them continuing full-time work.
Our entire team at M.J. Ellis Disability devotes every minute of the working day to getting everything you need to maximize your chance of winning your SSD benefits. We relieve you and your family of the tedious task of collecting, correlating, analyzing, and highlighting the most beneficial evidence to support your disability claim.
How to Prove You Deserve SSD Benefits
Much of the information need by the SSA to process your SSDI disability claim is known only to you. For example, you alone live with the daily burden of your disabling condition. You alone know how difficult you find certain activities. When, where, and how do you experience discomfort, limited mobility, difficulty breathing, or pain sitting, standing, or bending? Only you can provide that data.
To file a successful SSD benefits claim, all this personal information must be communicated to the SSA and supported by specific, medically-based, doctor’s reports and diagnoses. The clearer and more obvious the impairment is to your treating physicians, the easier it will be for the SSA disability claim reviewer to find documentary proof of the nature and severity of your disability.
In some cases, even the best doctors write ambiguous entries in medical reports. If your doctor’s diagnosis is poorly described in their report, they may be asked to rewrite a clearer statement of their findings to avoid your claim being misunderstood by the SSD government claim reviewer.
Multiple Impairments — Working with an experienced disability lawyer who specializes in SSD and SSI claims is especially important when your disability is based on a combination of impairments where no single impairment alone would qualify you as disabled. Many SSD claims involve claimants whose physical impairment is significant but is severe enough to qualify for SSD benefits. However, when combined with that claimant’s mental illness, the sum is greater than the parts. The combination of impairments is severe enough to merit a finding that they are disabled under SSD regulations.
Filing Your SSD Claim Is Only the First Step
Collecting, organizing, analyzing, and preparing your SSD application is the first phase of filing a successful Social Security Disability application. Following through is just as important to the success of the claim.
The most important actions you can take to improve your SSD application’s odds of success are listed below:
- Keep all your appointments with doctors, therapists, and rehab treatments. Missing medical appointments indicates either a lack of interest on your part or a less severe impairment than claimed.
- Keep a disability diary to write down each episode of noteworthy pain or inability to perform a task. Most people forget all but one or two incidents by the next time they speak to their doctors.
- Report every episode to the doctor so they can enter it into the records.
- Follow your physician’s recommendations.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, or smoking.
- Keep in touch with your Social Security Disability attorney. Lost contacts can result in missed hearings or other important events.