How to Win a Disability Case with Social Security

winning your disability claim

Don’t Risk Having Your Claim Denied!

Unless you qualify under Compassionate Allowances for Social Security benefits, you could be in for a long, complicated process to apply for and claim your Social Security Disability insurance. The Social Security Administration estimates that it can take three to five months to process a claim, and the vast majority of people that apply are denied at least twice. When you are already dealing with your illness and medical expenses, you do not want to risk having your claim denied and having to start the process over again.

Morristown Social Security Disability Lawyers on Your Team

The best way to ensure that your claim is properly handled the first time is to have an East Tennessee Social Security Disability attorney on your side. With quality representation, you can significantly increase your chance of being approved for benefits. Our Morristown Social Security Disability lawyers at The Terry Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to help you with this process from start to finish and get you the benefits you need and deserve.

Below are some tips to help you effectively file for and claim benefits:

  • Fill out your application thoroughly. The first step the Disability Determinations Services examiner will take is to request your medical records. Make sure you have completed all information regarding your medical history and include current names and addresses of all medical workers assigned to your case.
  • Contact your physician. Before submitting your disability application contact your doctor to let him or her know you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. Ask your doctor outright if he or she will support you in the process. Without your doctor’s support you will more than likely be denied your benefits.
  • Respond promptly to any inquiries. If you are contacted by anyone that is involved in your disability claim, whether they are from the Social Security office, the doctor’s office or your attorney, you should respond immediately. With an estimated timeline taking up to five months, any delay can adversely impact when you hear of a decision about your benefits.
  • Communicate any changes. If you have any changes to your personal information, including address, phone number or your medical condition, immediately contact the office that is processing your claim. If your medical condition deteriorates this could impact the final decision.
  • Be patient but persistent. Millions of Americans have applications for disability benefits being processed, but that does not minimize your application. Check the status of your application if you have not heard back from your caseworker in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Appeal. If your case is denied, and your condition has not improved, you may file an appeal. Statistics show that many people are denied twice when trying to get their disability benefits. If you are filing an appeal it is strongly recommended that you secure a Social Security attorney.

Contact a Social Security Lawyer for Help Winning Your Disability Claim

Our Morristown attorneys handle Social Security Disability cases from the initial application stage through administrative hearings and federal court. We will properly prepare your application and the medical evidence of your disability. Whether your case falls under SSDI or SSD, our Social Security attorneys can help you get the disability benefits you deserve.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (423) 586-5800 today.

Social Security Disability

Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

Social Security will pay you benefits if you cannot work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in your death. This description is the federal government’s definition for disability and will be used to determine whether your situation qualifies you for disability benefits. The definition limits the disability payments to long-term only and does not give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability. Primarily, if you have paid enough in Social Security taxes – at least half of the working quarters since you turned 21 years of age – you are eligible to file a claim for Social Security Disability if you become disabled.

To get disability benefits, in addition to meeting the disabled definition, you must also meet two different earnings criteria:

  1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Who decides if my disability entitles me to SSDI?

The Social Security office will review your application to determine whether you worked enough years to qualify and to assess the level of your current work activities. If you meet these criteria, your application will be passed on to the Disability Determination Services office in your state which completes the disability decision for the Social Security office.

The state agency will ask your doctors and specialists for information about your condition and will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information.

Specifically, they will ask the medical team for the following information:

  • What your medical condition is
  • When your medical condition began
  • How your medical condition limits your activities
  • What the medical tests have shown
  • What treatment you have received

In addition to the above, they also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. Additional medical information may be needed before a final decision can be made. It is possible that the state agency will ask you to go for a special examination. Although the preference is to use your current doctor, the exam may be conducted by another qualified physician.

How long will my application process take?

According to the Social Security Administration the length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can take from three to five months.

It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:

  • The nature of your disability;
  • How quickly medical evidence is obtained from your doctor or other medical source;
  • Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
  • If your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.

Is there an alternative to the full application process?

Yes. The Social Security Disability Insurance has an initiative called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). This is a process whereby the Social Security office can provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. There are 88 qualifying rare diseases and cancers on the list. Compassionate allowances allow the office to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments, based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals and get their benefits to them.

Is my family eligible to receive benefits?

It is possible that certain members of your family qualify for benefits based on your condition and your previous work.

Those family members include:

  • Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older
  • Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled
  • Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
  • Your divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.