Applying for Social Security disability benefits is complicated because there are numerous forms to complete and a significant amount of medical information must be submitted. Given the fact that nearly two-thirds of initial applicants are denied, it helps to have an experienced attorney to navigate the process.
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the Law Office of Carey Thompson routinely assists clients with applying for disability benefits. We offer each client compassion, knowledge, and highly personalized service.
The SSD/SSI Applying Process
Currently, there are a number of ways to apply for disability benefits, online, by telephone or by visiting a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. The first step is filling out an application with the SSA and its initial review of the claim. The application includes a series of questions about the applicant’s disability and work history. In order to be eligible, a claimant must be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity (SGA). There is also a questionnaire about the claimant’s daily activities.
Additionally, a variety of personal information must be provided with the initial claim, including:
- Social Security Number
- Birth certificate
- Contact information of doctors
- Names and dosages of prescription medications
- Detailed work history
In any event, the process can be lengthy and complicated. Moreover, if there are any errors in the application or any required information is not provided, the claim will be denied. Our legal team will patiently guide you through the process, fully explain all of your rights, and ensure the application is thoroughly prepared.
What is a consultative exam?
Although medical records by the treating physician are needed to support the claim, the Social Security examiner may also require the applicant to undergo a consultative exam with a physician selected by the SSA. Either way, it is necessary to demonstrate that the physical or mental condition has lasted, or is expected to last 12 months or longer, or result in death.
The Disability Claims Evaluation While Applying
The application will be evaluated based on a number of criteria. First, the applicant must have acquired the necessary amount of work credits which are based on total annual wages or self-employment income, up to four credits per year. Generally, a total of 40 credits is required, and half of these must be earned in the last 10 years, however, younger workers who have acquired fewer credits may still be eligible. If the applicant has the requisite number of credits, the application will be sent to the department of Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a complete review.
THE Disability Determination Services Review
The DDS is responsible for deciding whether to approve or deny the initial claim, based on a thorough review of all the information and medical records submitted with the application.
While the medical condition must be included in the SSA’s the listing of qualifying medical conditions (the “Blue Book), the claim may still be approved if the condition is “medically equal” to a listed impairment.
Another factor the DDS will consider is whether or not the applicant is capable of performing the type of work he or she was doing before becoming disabled, or another type of work. If the DDS finds that the medical information does not support the claim, they may require the applicant to attend one or more consultative exams, the findings of which will play a key role in whether the claim is approved or denied.
Once the DDS makes a decision, the applicant will receive a letter. If the claim is approved, the letter will include information about the amount of the monthly benefit, when the benefits will commence, and whether they are retroactive. If the claim is denied, on the other hand, the letter will provide an explanation as well as information on how to appeal the decision.
Fort Worth Disability Benefits Attorneys
At the law office of Carey Thompson, we know that dealing with a disability is a burden enough, without the possibility of a benefit claim being denied. We are committed to lifting that burden by guiding our clients through all phases of the application process, including completing the necessary forms and collecting and submitting the required medical information.
In the event of a denial, we are fully prepared to handle all aspects of a disability benefits appeal, up to and including litigation in federal court. Our guiding principle is to help the disabled obtain the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one needs assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.