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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
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Filing for Disability Benefits in Missouri and Preparing for the Worst



 
I came across a blog post written by a woman whose husband had extensive neck surgery, a fusion. Much like a typical American family, they have a couple of children, a mortgage, car payments, and, probably, other bills as well. Due to his surgery, they knew their financial situation would be affected. However, they made the assumption that he could file for disability in Missouri and receive disability checks while he recovered at home. As she said herself in her post, she couldn't have been more wrong.

What exactly was she and her spouse wrong about, though? Well, they actually made a couple of incorrect assumptions that many or most applicants for disability benefits make.

1. They assumed that the decision on a Social Security Disability case would be made in a reasonable amount of time.

2. They assumed that the system worked well enough to accurately determine if a person should be awarded disability benefits.

Resources:

1. How long for a disability appeal decision?
2. How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter?
3. How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits?
4. Filing your claim for disability benefits

"Reasonable", of course, is a subjective matter. What is reasonable when it comes to how long a disability claim should take? One month, two months, three months? It's probably easier to decide what, instead, is "unreasonable". And having to spend three years waiting to be approved for SSD or SSI benefits surely fits the definition of unreasonable, as many applicants for disability discover after a case has been denied and the disability apeals process has been initiated.

Regarding accurate decisions, unforunately the social security administration falls very short in this area as well. The great majority of all claims for disability are denied at the application level. Yet, a high percentage of appeals that are brought to the hearing level (before an administrative law judge) are won. This, of course, makes for a fairly compelling argument that decision-making within the SSD and SSI disability system is highly flawed at best.

With all this mind (that disability claims take a very long time to decide and that most claims will be denied), a claimant who files for disability should probably prepare for the worst. By that, I mean they should assume that their case will take a minimum of several months at each step of the process and, with that thought in mind, plan accordingly, in terms of finances. A claimant should also strive to avoid unnecessary roadblocks in the disability adjudication process, by:

1. Supplying detailed information regarding one's work history and medical treatment sources at the time of application and on appeals.

2. Updating the social security administration (by contacting the claims rep who took the application at the social security office or by contacting the disability examiner who is actually processing the claim) when new medical treatment sources have been obtained and when recent visits to medical treatment sources have been made.

3. Responding promptly to correspondence sent from SSA, including letters requesting that a claimant contact the social security office or the disability examiner.

4. Quickly returning requested forms, such as work history forms, medical releases, and "activities of daily living" questionaires.

5. Attending any type of exam that has been scheduled by the social security administration, which can include a physical exam, mental exam, or an appointment for xray imaging or to have spirometry (pulmonary function testing) done.








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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.