Filing a disability application [In Progress: link to https://socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/how-to-file-a-social-security-disability-application/] is a tedious process. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the organization that administers benefits and reviews applications, has a high threshold for approvals. It requires substantial information and evidence [In Progress: link to https://socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-kind-of-evidence-is-used-to-evaluate-and-decide-my-disability-benefit-claim/] to prove your claim is legitimate.
Most of the information required in a disability application falls into one of two categories: medical information and work history information. You have to demonstrate that your medical condition meets the SSA’s definition of a disability. Your work history information is relevant because the SSA needs to be sure your condition prevents you from working.
At the Disability Advantage Group, our disability attorneys can explain what types of information Social Security Disability is looking for in your application. For a free consultation, call us at 865-566-0800 today.
What Medical Information Does the SSA Need to Evaluate My Application?
The disability application asks several specific medical questions, including your medical diagnosis and the date you developed the condition. You must submit thorough documentation backing up the medical statements you make in your application.
Your Onset Date
Even though you might not receive your first check until several months after applying, you can receive back pay for the months you waited for approval. In some cases, you could receive back pay all the way back to your onset date.
It is important to document this date accurately. Otherwise, you could lose out on benefits you qualify to receive.
Your Medical Diagnosis
Your diagnosis is a vital part of your application. Many medical conditions qualify for benefits based on criteria in the SSA’s Blue Book. Under each condition in the Blue Book is a list of prerequisites you must meet to receive benefits.
Supplying a medical diagnosis—along with lab test results, physicians’ statements, and other medical evidence—helps you show the SSA you meet the requisite criteria and qualify for approval.
Your Treatment Dates
By furnishing proof of when you started undergoing treatment for your condition and how often you have seen your doctor since, you make a strong case for the severity of your disability. If you have not followed through on treatment for your condition, however, the SSA could doubt your claim. To the SSA, this gives the impression that you can ably function with your condition and do not need the medical care your doctor recommends.
What If I Do Not Meet a Listing in the Blue Book?
If your condition does not meet the criteria in a Blue Book listing, you may still qualify for benefits. You must prove to the SSA that your condition is as disabling as a Blue Book condition. In other words, it impacts your ability to work and carry out daily living activities in the same manner and to the same degree. By having your doctor fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) test on your behalf, you can demonstrate functional equivalence.
What Does the SSA Need to Know About My Work History?
Aside from the extensive medical information the SSA requires, you must also provide specifics about your work history.
The reason work history matters is the SSA only grants disability benefits to applicants who cannot work. To qualify for benefits, you must be incapable of continuing at your current or most recent job. Your condition must also prevent you from working any job you qualify for.
In other words, if you currently work as a firefighter, but you are also qualified to do dispatch, the SSA might decline your disability application even if you develop a condition that makes it impossible to do the physically strenuous work of fighting fires.
To determine what jobs you can and cannot do—and to match you up with available jobs it thinks you are capable of performing—the SSA requests the following information with your application:
- Dates of employment for the last 15 years;
- Accurate job titles of all positions held; and
- Thorough job descriptions of each position.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Most disability applicants receive a denial the first time they apply. Many more receive a rejection after filing an appeal. A good disability lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf, helping you avoid many of the pitfalls and issues that have kept other applicants from getting approved.
How Can I Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lawyer?
At the Disability Advantage Group, our attorneys want to help you get disability benefits. We have a successful track record of winning disability claims, and we want to put it to work for you. To schedule a free consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.