How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability Advice for Filing

It is well known that the wait for disability benefits can be a long one. It takes on average three to four months after filing a claim to receive a decision from the state disability determination agency, and if your claim is denied upon initial review (the vast majority are) then the reconsideration appeal and, if necessary, disability hearing can take additional months, or even years (the backlog of disability cases waiting to be heard before an administrative judge is considerable in all areas of the country).

The ideal situation, then, is for a claimant to have their disability application approved quickly by the disability examiner at the first level of consideration, the state disability determination agency. This is indeed a rare occurrence, but it does happen, and at any rate you can help speed up the process if you follow this advice for filing for Social Security Disability benefits:

1. Seek medical treatment for your condition as soon as possible. The idea is to make sure that you can provide documentation from a qualified physician that demonstrates you are a) currently suffering from a medical condition that is inhibiting or preventing you from working and b) that this condition is ongoing rather than temporary, and is likely to prevent you from working in the future.

2. Make sure that the physician from whom you are receiving treatment is willing to help you document your condition when you apply for disability benefits. This means letting your doctor know up front that you plan to file for disability, and asking if he or she would be willing to fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) statement for you in support of your claim.

It is important to get an idea beforehand if your physician is willing to be involved in a disability case—some doctors are unsympathetic toward disability patients in general, and others do not want to spend the extra time involved in providing a disability examiner with the necessary paperwork. If you get the feeling that your physician is not willing to help you make your case, or is in any way skeptical that your condition is truly disabling, find a new doctor.

All disability benefits are awarded based on information found in medical reports, and without this documentation your case will certainly be delayed, and, in all likelihood, denied.

3. Provide a detailed, organized, medical and work history. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the disability process for the claimant, but it makes all the difference in the world in how quickly a claim is decided. Don’t expect that vague dates, lack of addresses, names, etc., is something that will be acceptable or that the disability examiner will fill in these blanks for you.

At some point you will have to come up with the correct information, so do it sooner rather than later. One thing all disability cases that are approved early in the process have in common is that they have plenty of verifiable medical evidence to back them up.

Essential Questions

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Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

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Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

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More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.