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SSDI- Does the SSA really help people that need it?

Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “Will the Social Security Administration (SSA) really help disability applicants that need help?” The answer depends on what you view as help and what you are expecting the SSA to do for you.

Will the SSA complete or help me complete my SSI or SSDI application?

There are millions of disability applicants each year. There is no way the SSA can complete your SSDI or SSI application or even provide you with much assistance. Can they answer a few questions? Sure, but do not expect anyone to sit down with you and walk you step by step through the application process. If you need this kind of help you are much better off hiring a company that provides this service or asking a family member or friend to help you.

If you do have questions for the SSA you can call them at 1-800-772-1213 or you can schedule an appointment at the local SSA office in your area. Obviously, the amount of assistance you may get will depend on how busy the office is and who you meet with, but expecting less help, rather than more, will probably leave you less frustrated.

Will the SSA approve all disability applicants?

If you are asking if the SSA will award SSDI or SSI to everyone who applies the answer is a resounding no. The SSA has very stringent requirements, some medical and some nonmedical, for both SSDI and SSI. If you do not meet the nonmedical criteria the SSA will not even bother to pull your medical records to review the severity or your health condition; you will be automatically denied.

Will the SSA help everyone see a doctor?

Again, the answer is a resounding no. The SSA does not provide medical care for applicants and expecting them to find you a great doctor who will diagnosis your condition or who will help you is a waste of time. It will not happen. It is your responsibility to get the medical care you need and make sure your doctor is documenting your symptoms.

What happens if you do not have a doctor? If you lack sufficient medical evidence to prove your case the SSA will send you to a consultative examiner who will review your condition. The main complaint about these exams are they are very short and the doctors generally make up their mind without enough information. The bottom line: do not rely on a consultative examiner for medical evidence that you are disabled and you cannot work.

So what will the SSA do for me?

One of the biggest complaints is that the SSA is not helpful and they are rude. All I can say is that they are overwhelmed with insufficient staffing and too many applications. Don’t expect anything from them and you will not be disappointed. If you cannot navigate the SSI or SSDI process on your own it may be time to talk to a disability lawyer.