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Social Security Administration disability- how difficult is the process?

A common question we get each week on our disability forum is, “How difficult is the disability process?” Claimants want to know if they can expect to wait months, or maybe years, to receive either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Unfortunately, many claimants fail to take a few basic steps to simplify the process and make it much harder and longer than it has to be. For claimants who do not understand the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income process, who fail to ensure they meet the criteria established by the Social Security Administration or who fail to get proper medical care the process can be very long and difficult, often resulting in multiple disability denial decisions.

Five steps to simplify the disability process:

There are five basic steps that every disability claimant should take BEFORE applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

  1. Review websites and find out the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Take one hour and read about what it means to be disabled, what you need to prove you are disabled and what criteria the Social Security Administration uses to analyze your condition.

  2. Do not wait for the Social Security Administration to send you to a doctor- they won’t. Yes, they may send you to a consultative examiner but this does not generally help your case. Claimants should seek continuous medical care for their mental and physical health condition and follow the prescribed treatment plan outlined by their doctor. Failure to see a doctor or follow the doctor’s plan will make it extremely difficult to win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

  3. Get all of the proper documents together BEFORE you meet with the Social Security Administration. The SSA will need certain information to process your disability claim. This will include employment records, prescription information, birth certificate, marriage and dependent information, tax information, public benefit information, disability information, doctor’s information (names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of treatment)

  4.  Talk to a disability lawyer. Disability lawyers work on a contingency basis and they only get paid if a claimant wins their Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income case. Ask a disability lawyer the right questions to make sure you get disability as soon as possible.

  5. Appeal denials within 60 days. Countless claimants apply over and over again. Not only do they fail to understand why they have been denied, they also fail to use the appeal process that the Social Security Administration has established for claimants. There are appeal levels within the disability process where claimants have a greater chance of being awarded benefits, especially at the Social Security Administrative hearing level. This is especially true if the claimant, who has been denied at the application level, takes the time to get more medical evidence to support their disability claim.

Does the disability process have to be difficult? Not if you follow these easy steps: make sure you understand the process and meet the outlined criteria for SSDI or SSI, provide the SSA with the right information, get great medical care and talk to a Social Security Disability lawyer.

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