Whether you’ve already applied for Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI), are thinking about applying, or were recently denied, there are three things you can do today to increase your chances of getting approved.
1) Get medical treatment, take your medication, and follow your doctor’s orders.
You will not be approved for benefits if you have not received recent medical care for your conditions! Though the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you for a medical or psychological exam if you have not seen a doctor recently, those exams are only give SSA a brief snapshot of your conditions. There is almost no chance that you will be approved for benefits if your only recent examination is by a Social Security doctor.
SSA needs to see that you are receiving consistent treatment for your conditions, taking your medication, and following your doctor’s orders. If you fail to do any of those things, your claim will likely be denied.
2) Leave nothing out of your application.
I understand that it can be hard to discuss your medical conditions and limitations with a stranger. However, if you are not 100% open and honest with Social Security, there is no way they can really evaluate your case.
The crux of an SSI or SSDI case is whether your daily functioning is so impaired that you cannot work, or in the case of a child, whether you are functioning well below your peers. What this means is that you and your neighbor could both be diagnosed with the same condition, but you could be considered disabled while your neighbor is not. It all depends on how your illness impacts your daily activities.
You need to tell Social Security about all medical conditions you are being treated for, and exactly how those conditions limit your daily activities. Though you may feel as though there is one primary condition that is preventing you from working, or preventing your child from functioning at the same level as his peers, Social Security will look at the cumulative effect of all of your conditions. Don’t take a chance – tell them everything!
3) Tell your doctors you are applying for Social Security benefits.
Disability Determination Services (DDS), the office that reviews your medical records and determines whether you are disabled, will request all medical records relevant to your claim from the doctors you list on your application.
One common reason it takes so long to receive a decision is because your doctors take a long time to send in your records, or never send them at all. If your doctor submits your records quickly, you will receive a decision faster. So at your next appointment, be sure to tell your doctor that you need him or her to send your records on as quickly as possible. You can also request your medical records from your doctors yourself and submit them when you apply.
DDS cannot evaluate your claim fairly unless they have all of your medical records from all of your doctors. If they don’t get all of your records, they will be making a decision without a complete picture of your conditions and limitations, and this is a sure recipe for a denial.