Frequently Asked Questions on Social Security Disability Claims

by | Published on Jun 19, 2019 | Social Security Disability

Filing a claim for disability can be confusing and intimidating for most workers. Choose a disability lawyer who can assist you throughout the process. They can ensure that all of your medical evidence and paperwork have been filed correctly, leading to a smooth process and successful benefits claim. Medical review services can help these attorneys organize and index medical records in a better way.

Workers will have a lot of questions about applying for Social Security benefits. Here are the answers for some frequently asked questions.

What are the eligibility requirements to get Social Security disability benefits?

The SSA will consider a person as disabled, if – he/she cannot do the work that they did before, cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition(s), and their disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or result in death. To ensure that you qualify for disability benefits, the SSA uses a step-by-step process involving five questions such as:

  1. Are you working?

If you are not working, the SSA will send your application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to make the decision about your medical condition.

  1. Is your condition “severe”?

If your condition interferes with basic work-related activities, the next step will be taken.

  1. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?

If your condition is there in their list (the Blue Book), the SSA will find that you are disabled. If it is not on the list, they have to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the Blue Book list.

  1. Can you do the work you did previously?

The SSA will determine if your medical impairment(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it does, they will proceed to the next step.

  1. Can you do any other type of work?

If you can’t do other work, the SSA will decide you are disabled. If you can do other work, it will be decided that you don’t have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

There are also special rules for disabled widows or widowers, blind peopleand disabled children.

How do I qualify if I don’t meet a Blue Book listing?

The Blue Book is the SSA’s list of medical conditions that qualify a person for disability benefits. Even if your condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, you can still get your disability benefits claim approved by –

  • Providing an extensive medical history related to your condition, which will help the SSA realize that your medical condition is serious
  • Filling out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment that will help the SSA determine what kinds of work you can be expected to reasonably perform with your medical condition
  • Maintaining a record showing the activities you cannot do, and
  • Submitting a complete disability benefits application to ensure that you have the best possible change of filing a successful claim

How to apply for social security?

You can apply for SSDI benefits,

  • Online at
  • By calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or
  • By visiting your local Social Security office

Why do claims get denied?

Each year, approximately 60 to 70 percent of the initial disability claims are denied, due to reasons such as the following.

  • Lack of medical evidence
  • Incomplete claim forms
  • Failure to comply with a consultative exam
  • Not following your doctor’s prescribed treatment

What documentation is needed before applying for disability benefits?

To prove your disability, the SSA requires you to send all medical documentation and evidence that are relevant to your disability from all your doctors and medical specialists.

To show that you are eligible, the SSA requires documents such as:

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
  • u.s. military discharge paper(s) if you were in military service before 1968
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
  • An Adult Disability Report that collects more details about your illnesses, and work history
  • Medical evidence such as medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results
  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you received

Make sure that your medical records include formal names of all your medical conditions, dates of diagnoses, medications and other treatments, and dates and locations of any tests, surgeries, or other procedures.A written statement from your physician can also be included in your application for disability benefits, which will further explain your condition and symptoms. The more relevant information you can provide, the better your chances of being approved.

How can a disability lawyer help apply for disability benefits online?

Hiring a Social Security attorney will increase your chances of ultimately being successful with your disability claim.An experienced SSD attorney will be familiar with the claim application process. They can help you get the necessary medical evidence to support your claim from your doctors and the hospitals where you received treatment. Medical record retrieval companies assist these lawyers in organizing and reviewing those collected medical records, making it relevant to a case. Support from such a lawyer can also reduce the chances of your claims getting denied due to insufficient medical proof of disability or any submission errors. A lawyer will also help you understand the Blue Book listing and make sure you meet the criteria.

After submitting the application, your attorney will check with the SSA on your behalf and give you updates as they become available.The attorney will also represent you at your appeals reconsideration and hearing proceedings, if your original claim is denied.

During the case hearing, the attorney will submit all relevant medical evidence, which helps the judge get a clear understanding of how your disability has impacted your ability to work. If you cannot appear at a hearing, the attorney can request an OTR (on the record) decision from the judge, making it possible for your claim to be approved without a hearing.

Discover our medical record review solutions and partner with us for your next case.

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