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

How to get disability: four tips for getting approved


How do you get disability?

Author:Tim Moore, former Disability Examiner

To get disability, you need to file an application, preferably with a local Social Security office. If you get denied, you need to not give up, and not file a new claim. Many people mistakenly start a new application instead of appealing. But doing that gives up your appeal rights and the chance to be heard at a hearing where the approval chances may be higher. If you get denied, start the appeal process as quickly as you can.

Filing appeals to help you get disability

In most states, you have the options of a reconsideration appeal and a disability hearing appeal. The reconsideration comes after your disability application is denied. If the request for reconsideration is also denied (80 percent of them are), you can ask for a hearing.

The disability hearing appeal is where you will have your best chance to get your disability. Usually, more than half of all hearings result in an approval.

Why does the disability hearing have better odds?

The hearing is where you will meet the person deciding your case (an administrative law judge) and this is where you can present statements from your doctors. The hearing is also where a lawyer can prepare your case, submit additional evidence, and argue that your case meets the Social Security definition of disability.

Winning your case sooner saves hardship

Even though you may eventually go to a disability hearing, make every attempt to win the case as soon as possible to avoid financial hardship that can cause you to file bankruptcy or lose your home. Speaking as a former disability examiner, here are four tips to make a stronger case so you can get your disability.

Tip 1 to get your disability

: When you apply, give Social Security all of your medical treatment sources, including all doctors, clinics, and hospitals. Make sure you include the names of your doctors and the addresses of your medical providers.

Note: the number one factor in slowing down a disability case...is how long it takes a disability examiner to get your medical records. So don't make it any harder for them. Instead, make it as easy as possible.

Tip 2 to get your disability

: If you can, get copies of your medical records and submit them when you apply. Doing this can shave weeks or months from your case processing time. If you do this, though, make sure you get all the records, meaning your current medical records and also your older records that prove how far back your disability began (which is important for calculating how much back pay you are owed)

Tip 3 to get your disability

: Make sure you have recent medical evidence. This means, at the very least, you should go to the doctor sometime before you file for disability. Why? Social Security cannot approve your disability claim if they don't have recent medical records when they review your case. The reasoning is pretty clear. How can Social Security know that you currently qualify for disability if they don't have recent medical evidence.

What is considered "recent" medical evidence?

Recent medical evidence is from any visit to a doctor within the last 90 days. You cannot get disability approved without recent evidence. But what if you don't have recent evidence? Social Security will then send you to a consultative medical exam. This will provide a recent snapshot of your condition. However, the doctor you see will not know you, or much about your condition, so it will be a poor substitute. To get your disability approved, make sure you are seen by your doctor or doctors regularly.

Tip 4 to get your disability: Give Social Security detailed information about your work history when you file a claim for disability. This is an area that many claimants 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 correctly identify their dates of employment, the amount of time they worked each job, their job title, and, just as importantly, provide a detailed explanation of the duties performed on each job.

Why is it so important to give detailed work history information?

To understand this, you need to know a little about how disability decisions are made. When you file for disability, the disability examiner working on your case will try to identify your jobs in a reference source known as the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles. This is so they can figure out what demands your past work placed on you. Did you have to stand or sit a lot? Did you have to lift or carry? Did you have to memorize or learn new information?

Once the examiner knows what you did in your old jobs, they will compare that to what you can currently do (your residual functional capacity). Then they can decide if you can return to your past work, or do some kind of other work. If you can't do either, you may get disability benefits.

Obviously, correctly identifying a person's past jobs can affect the outcome of a case and determine whether or not they are approved...or get 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.

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

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

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

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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?
Can You Get Approved For Social Security Disability if you do not take medication or go to a doctor?
What are my chances of being approved for disability benefits in North Carolina?
Filing for disability with congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy
Applying for disability with a cervical spine discectomy and fusion
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, 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.