Getting a Social Security Disability Approval in Missouri in under 3 months

In the last few months, I've noticed one or more articles on the web that have a title with some variation of "Learn how to get your Social Security Disability approval in under 3 months. Guaranteed!"

First of all, let's just clear the air on stuff like this. There is no way to guarantee a Social Security Disability or SSI disability approval at any step of the process, particularly, however, at the initial claim level where A) claimants do not interact in any substantial manner with the disability decision maker and B) claimants do not have the responsibility of assembing the information for their case presentation (At the disability application level, a disability examiner assembles all the information for a case, inluding information submitted at the time of application but also information gathered from medical treatment sources; at a hearing, this responsibility falls to the claimant and the claimant's representative).

Having said that, though, an applicant for disability benefits can maximize their chances of winning benefits early on in the process by doing the following:

1. Submitting a complete work history with dates of employment, job titles, and job descriptions.

2. Submitting a complete medical treatment history with names of facilities, names of doctors, all diagnosed conditions, dates of treatment, and (this will help when it comes time for the disability examiner to generate medical record requests) addresses of doctors, clinics, and hospitals.

3. Responding quickly to all correspondence and contacts made by either the social security office where the application for disability was filed, or by the state disability processing agency where the case is being worked on by a disability examiner (usually known as DDS, or disability determination services, or some variation of this name, depending on the state in which you live).

4. Going to any scheduled medical exams or mental evaluations.

Failing to do any of these things will simply slow things down on the processing of a disability claim in Missouri. And it can potentially make it less likely for a claimant to be given an approval on a claim.

How is this? Cases are given a disability approval on the basis of medical evidence that substantiates a claimant's alleged functional limitations, functional limitations that are severe enough to eliminate the ability to work and earn a substantial gainful living for at least a year. If a disability examiner does not have access to all of a claimant's records...then the case may not receive the consideration it deserves. After all, a disability examiner cannot form a proper opinion if he or she does not have all the medical records in place---and it can be impossible to get all the medical records together if a claimant fails to list all their medical treatment sources on an application.

However, even when all the treatment sources are listed, it can sometimes be difficult to get all the records together if addresses are missing, are incorrect, or the hospital or doctor's office is listed incorrectly (examiner's typically rely on a database that lists medical providers and the ability to locate a medical provider in the database will be hampered if the clinic or hospital is named incorrectly by the claimant).

Can you receive a Social Security Disability approval in under three months? Yes, and a fair percentage of claimants do. Roughly a third of all disability applications are approved at the initial claim level and a large percentage of these are approved in 90 days or less. On the flip side, however, the reality is that seventy percent of applications are denied, forcing claimants to file a disability appeal.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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