Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

4 Tips for Getting Disability Approved When you File with Social Security

For adult applicants, Social Security Disability and SSI decisions are made based on a review of the medical evidence, as well as a review of the applicant's work history (for child disability claims replace work history with school records, and achievement and intelligence testing scores).

The purpose of reviewing the medical evidence is fairly obvious. Social Security (or, rather, the disability examiner or the administrative law judge who is deciding the claim) is looking to see how the condition, or conditions, affect the claimant. In other words, what are their functional limitations, both physically and mentally? The more limited a person is, of course, the more unlikely it will be that they will be able to return to a past job, or do some type of other work.

Here are four tips for disability applicants that concern your medical records and evidence, and your work history, since these two aspects are used to make SSD and SSI disability decisions in the majority of claims. Note: some individuals will qualify for disability by having a medical condition in the listings, but most approvals are not made via the listings.

Tip 1: Be sure to provide all known sources of medical treatment. Most claimants know that this type of information will be provided on a disability application. However, very often they fail to provide the necessary contact information for each doctor or hospital.

This may be because the claimant assumes that it will be easy for the social security administration (actually, the disability examiner) to track down their medical sources and then send requests for medical records.

However, this is not the case. Disability examiners do have a database they use to identify doctors, clinics, and hospitals, but it is by no means a complete list of all known sources of treatment.

Tip 2: Be sure to provide information regarding the most recent treatment received. A Social Security Disability or SSI approval cannot be made without recent medical evidence. SSA considers recent evidence to be evidence from treatment that has happened within the last 90 days.

The reasoning behind this is clear: without recent evidence, there is no way for social security to know if a claimant's condition is currently limiting enough to satisfy the Social Security administration definition of disability.

That definition, by the way, holds that a claimant's condition must currently impose functional limitations (physical, mental, or both) that are severe enough that the individual cannot be expected to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for a period of not less than one full year.

Tip 3: Be sure to provide treatment information as far back as you can recall. Make sure to do this at least as far back as you are alleging that your condition, or conditions, began. While it is true that SSA cannot award disability benefits without current medical evidence, it is also true that social security cannot award the maximum amount of back pay that a claimant might potentially be eligible for without the necessary medical evidence to document the length of their illness, injury, or condition.

Work History

The purpose of reviewing a person's work history is to identify the jobs they performed and to identify the specific tasks they did on each job. Social Security uses a reference source known as the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles, to look up each job listed by a claimant. With each job listing comes a description of the job duties, the skill requirements of the job, and the exertional requirements of the job.

Correctly, or incorrectly, matching the job title in the DOT with the information provided by the claimant when they apply for disability is critical--because even similar jobs (such as various truck driving jobs) can have very different skill and exertional requirements.

Correctly identifying a claimant's past jobs can and will have an effect on the outcome of a case and will determine whether or not a claimant is approved...or is denied on the basis of A) being able to return to their past work or B) being able to perform some type of other work.

Tip 4: Always provide detailed information about your work history when you file a claim for disability. Speaking as a former disability examiner and as someone with a history of involvement in claimant representation, I can certainly state that this is an area that many claimants tend to gloss over when they submit their disability application.

But this is not something that should be given short attention. Instead, a person filing for disability should go to lengths to correctly identify their dates of employment, the amount of time they worked each job, their job title, and, just as importantly (probably more), provide a detailed explanation of the duties performed on each job.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

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

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Receiving a Disability Award Letter

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Related pages:

Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How Long Will It Take To Get Approved for Disability and what determines this?
Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
Is There A Way To Get Automatically Approved For SSI And Social Security Disability?
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
What are the Odds or Chances of Being Approved for Disability?
How do you find out if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or even denied?
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If you meet a Social Security Disability listing, can a judge deny your claim?

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?

Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria

For the sake of clarity, 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 homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.