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Getting Your SSDI Application Right

Each year the Social Security Disability insurance program pays out $143 billion to over 11 million Americans who cannot work due to serious medical conditions, and those numbers have been increasing over the years, according to the most recent report.

In 2013 alone, the Social Security Administration processed 2.7 million applications, which was a huge jump from the 1.9 million applications it received the decade before.

Unfortunately, the percentage of approved applications is not high. From 2004 to 2013, the approved applications averaged at about 36 percent, according to the report. Of those, about 25 percent receive benefits for their initial claim, 2 percent are approved for benefits after an appeal, and the remaining 11 percent are approved at hearings.

Your Action Plan

The reality is that the SSA places a lot of responsibility on the applicant to get their application right the first time. Some will say that applying is a job in itself, which is ironic because people apply because they’re physically incapable of working.

Some denied applicants aren’t eligible because they don’t meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.” Per the SSA’s guidelines, disabled means their medical condition is expected to last at least one full year or result in death.

Other times, the applicant makes mistakes in their application, which sends their application straight to the denial pile.

To ensure that you get your application right on the first try, be sure to:

  • Gather as many medical records as you can before you file so the SSA has a full picture from the beginning, and submit copies with your application.
  • Make sure you’ve been receiving medical care for your condition regularly and recently.
  • Have your doctor fill out a residual functional capacity form, which explains your limitations and prognosis (include this with your initial SSDI application).

Please be aware of the importance of providing good medical records, which will help show the seriousness of your condition and how it’s impaired your ability to work. Also, your doctors’ opinions about those limitations will be critical, they can make or break your case.

If you get denied, you need to act fast and request an appeal within two months. Though the appeal process can take some time, if your claim is approved, you’ll be able to receive retroactive benefits that go back to your initial filing date.

Contact a Dallas Social Security Disability attorney from The Zendeh Del Law Firm.