Becoming disabled after years of working full-time can be terrifying. Suddenly needing to support yourself and your family while unable to work fills people with anxiety. How will you pay your mortgage, car note, or pay for utilities? In most cases, the answer is by filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
How Do You File for Social Security Disability?
There are several methods you can use to file your initial Social Security Disability (SSD) claim. The law does not require that you use an experienced disability attorney to file for SSD benefits but using one of the self-help disability filing options can invite risks of error that will slow the processing of your claim, delay the ultimate approval decision, or cause your application for benefits to be denied unnecessarily.
At Sackett and Associates, we focus our legal practice on helping California residents get the Social Security Disability benefits to which they are entitled. Because we prepare, file, and vigorously advocate for our clients’ SSD claims, we have extensive experience with Social Security Disability claims, we’ve learned precisely what the SSD bureaucracy looks for when they are evaluating your disability application.
Filing Your Own Social Security Disability Claim
Anyone can file their own Social Security Disability (SSD) claim through one of several means the Social Security Administration (SSA) has set up. And while some instructions are provided, the responsibility is upon the filer to ensure that their submission is complete, correct, and includes all possible bases for their claim.
In San Francisco, you can file your own Social Security Claim by:
- online at the SSA’s website ssa.gov,
- telephone by calling the SSA’s customer service: 1-800-772-1213,
- or in-person at your local Social Security field office.
How to Increase Your Chances of Being Approved for Disability Benefits the First Time
About 70 % of SSD claims are denied initially. Only after reconsideration and a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) are most claims approved. In California, 36 % of Social Security Disability claims are denied. That figure includes all SSD claims, not just those filed by novices or individuals with no experience who filed their own claims. The rate at which self-filed claims are rejected is much higher.
The key to giving an SSD claim its best chance for approval is to ensure the disability claim meets the following standards:
- includes all medical records, reports, test results, therapy notes, laboratory results,
- all supporting records and documents organized to optimize SSD case reviewer convenience,
- filed at the correct time, neither too early nor too late in relation to the onset of impairment,
- claims and provides supporting documentary evidence for every claimed impairment,
- accurately reflects earning ability
- includes complete data relating to all treatment history and IDs and all healthcare contact information.
Using an Experienced Disability Lawyer Can Improve Your Chances of Approval
While the law permits anyone to file their own Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income claim, working with an experienced attorney who prepares and advocates for the disability claims of their clients helps significantly.
Professional disability attorneys are exceptionally knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing how disability claims are processed, the standards by which they are judged, how the SSD workers prefer the claim package to be organized, and how to keep on top of the claim’s progress.
Collecting All Necessary Medical Records
One of the most challenging tasks in preparing to file a disability claim to the Social Security Administration is collecting every document required to be submitted in support of the claim. To assess the degree to which a claimant is impaired, the SSA demands that a full record of the applicant’s treatment history accompany the claim.
If supporting medical records or test results are missing from the disability claim package, the claim can be stalled, returned to the claimant as incomplete, or denied. The first SSA agents who handle the claim are in the Disability Determination Services office. These agents perform an initial review to check on issues like eligibility, income records, and whether sufficient medical documentation is included.
Your Social Security Disability lawyer has trained staff who routinely contact physicians, hospitals, labs, therapists, and rehab facilities to obtain their client’s records. Then, those records are analyzed and organized into an orderly disability claim package designed to highlight the essential information and supporting evidence the SSA needs to approve the disability claim.
Sackett and Associates Disability Law Firm
Sackett and Associates have been fighting for and winning disability benefits for our clients for more than 44 years. We devote our law practice exclusively to helping people who suffer from disabilities get the full benefit payment to which they are entitled.
We work to relieve you of the stress and anxiety relating to putting your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim together.
We represent the disability claims of people in Northern California and throughout the United States. We’re ready to help you with any disability benefits issues you have.