by Brad Myler
Whether you are currently receiving benefits, have received benefits in the past, or are just beginning your research on eligibility, you are probably already aware that it can take some time for applications for Social Security disability benefits to be processed and approved. In addition to a waiting period, which can last several months, many applications are ultimately rejected because they fail to meet basic eligibility requirements.
With the Social Security Administration handling greater caseloads than ever, many individuals become frustrated with the long wait to receive an answer on their case, while they continue to be unable to work. If you are concerned about your application being rejected, or you would like to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, you should be sure to do all the research you can beforehand to determine what benefits you are entitled to, and what information or documentation must be submitted.
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability or SSI application benefits, you should do your best to submit your application as soon as you and your treating physician have determined that your disability will last at least a full year. In order to make sure that you receive benefits to which you are due, you should make sure that you provide a full set of documentation for initial review. If the correct paperwork is not received, or insufficient documentation is received, it is much more likely that your application will not be able to be approved.
In general, a good case for receiving benefits will involve a solid work record and thorough documentation of your disability. By federal law Social Security disability benefits can only be issued when applications meet a very narrow definition of disability; in order to receive these benefits, your disability must last at least a full year, or lead to death. You should be able to provide medical records that detail the history of your disability. Remember, while your physician’s determination may influence the ultimate outcome, medical documentation is required in addition to their medical opinion.
If you feel that you need a little extra help, or if you feel you should be eligible to receive benefits, but have an unusual set of circumstances, you may want to consult an advocate who specializes in helping clients apply for disability benefits. Such an advocate will be able to assess your disability benefits eligibility, guide you through the application process, and if need be, present your case in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The best place to do some initial research on your own, however, will probably be the Social Security Administration’s website (SSA.gov). There you will be able to find helpful FAQs, relevant statistical data, and detailed explanations of eligibility requirements. Remember, you will have the best chance of receiving your benefits in a timely manner if you have fully demonstrated in the application process that you are unable to work due to your disability.