When filing for Social Security Disability or SSI there are certain key things to do during the process.
First and foremost, keep SSA up to date on your phone number and mailing address. If they cannot reach you, you will miss important information, potentially information that may be critical to your case. Lack of a correct address or phone number can cause unnecessary delays in your case.
Second, keep a list of you doctor’s visits so you can send updates. They periodically request medical updates.
Third, keep a list of your current medications so you can update Social Security when they request them. Up to date medications also allows Social Security to consider the side effects you may have from your medications.
Next, let your local office or the hearing office know if you have to file for bankruptcy or have received a notice of eviction or foreclosure. These serious financial events will be considered by Social Security to make a faster decision on your claim. Unfortunately, they will not consider other financial problems such as utilities being cut off or inability to pay medical bills as reasons to consider hearing your claim faster.
Also, talk to your doctorr about your disability. Make sure your doctor knows everything that is going on with your health. If the doctor is supportive of your claim for disability and will put this in writing, it can help you claim. However, the written support needs to state why you are disabled. If the statement only says you are unable to work, it will not make a difference to Social Security. Your doctor must include the basis for his or her opinion that you cannot work.
Do your best to go to the doctor on a regular basis. Apply for Medicaid for help. Even if they cannot help, see if they have a list of free clinics or reduced fee clinics in your area. The better the medical records support you problems, the strong your claim for disability. The fewer the medical records, demonstrating less treatment, the harder it is to prove disability.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations to the best of your ability. If they doctor tells you to do something (i.e. loss weight, stop smoking, etc.), do your best to follow those instructions. SSA will look at whether you are doing what the doctor recommends.
Finally, please be aware that if you are receiving unemployment benefits, Social Security can look at that as proof you can work. Think long and hard about applying for unemployment if you are claiming disability.
Call us to discuss other ways you may assist your claim during your Disability or SSI claim.