When someone has worked the majority of their life becomes disabled from an injury or illness, their life gets turned upside down. When the disabling impairment is long-term, they feel great pressure to replace their lost income, especially knowing they will continue to lose their earnings for the foreseeable future. That’s why Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits exist.
However, many people who file for disability benefits don’t win approval during their initial application process. They must appeal. The good news is that more than half of SSD claimants who appeal their initial denial win a reversal and are approved for full benefits retroactively to the date they became disabled.
At Sackett and Associates Disability Law Firm, we work to ensure that no one is denied the first time they apply for SSD benefit payments. Very few people file disability claims without good grounds and avoidable delays due to unfair or unsupported denials only add needless frustration and anxiety to the lives of people who desperately need the benefits they worked for.
What Can You Do to Get Approved for Disability the First Time?
There are several reasons that so many disability claims are denied the first time they are submitted, many of which you can change. Many claims filed by the applicant themselves are submitted with incomplete medical records. Often, another inexperienced claim preparer failed to include the required data about multiple impairments the claimant suffers from. In a large number of cases, a claimant suffers from a complex of impairments that together render them disabled, but none of which are sufficient individually to warrant approval of the disability claim.
Other disability claims get denied because the applicant failed to establish that they were treated persistently and followed recommended treatments and medication protocols.
Still others are denied because the first official to review the file was overburdened with a large backlog of cases and paid too little attention to the details of each file. Instead, files may have been scanned carelessly and important facts supporting the claim were overlooked.
While there is nothing you can do to reduce the pressure of a file backlog in your state’s Disability Determination Service Center (DDS), there are things you can do to make it easier for the DDS reviewer to recognize the validity of your individual disability claim.
Establish a Strong Record of Treatment Compliance:
The Social Security Administration defines a qualified disability as follows:
A medically determinable physical or mental impairment that lasts or is expected to last 12 months (or result in death) and prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities (SGAs).
Some impairments are undeniably long-term or permanent enough to satisfy that part of the requirement. Stage four cancers, end-stage renal failure, or ALS are all serious illnesses from which recovery within one year is not common. Therefore, if a disability claim were based on one of these obviously severe, long-term impairments, an extensive treatment history going back years is not necessary to support the claim’s validity.
But other illnesses and injuries are less obviously “disabling” over the long term and require a fuller medical record to supply sufficient medical evidence. For example, a severe anxiety disorder combined with a depressive disorder may or may not become a long-term disability. The nature of anxiety and depressive disorders includes a possible progression of symptoms. Only with the support of a substantial treatment history during which the claimant complied with recommended meds and therapy would a case reviewer be able to recognize the severity of the impairments.
That means keeping up with your scheduled doctors’ appointments is imperative to a successful disability claim. Repeated missed appointments and long treatment gaps will undermine a claimant’s chance of first-time approval of their disability claim.
Records Must Be Organized In an Orderly Disability Claim Package
Ensuring all medical records are included in a disability claim package is only one part of a good application. The records must also be presented in a logical order, with proper tabs, labeling, and highlighting of significant materials to enable the person reviewing the package to easily recognize the data needed to approve the claim. Busy disability determination workers facing large file backlogs will not spend extra time looking for information in a disorganized claim package.
Only Professional Disability Attorneys Will Help You Win Approval of Benefits
Preparing and filing your own SSD claim package or asking an inexperienced person to help is an invitation to initial denial in most cases. The highly trained and experienced disability law attorneys at Sackett Law Associates prepare, organize, highlight, and argue vigorously for disabled claimants’ benefits claims every day.
No fees are due from disability claimants during the entire preparation, filing, and advocacy process until the applicant is approved for full benefits, and then the government caps the fee at a modest level. The expertise of experienced disability lawyers is invaluable. They will collect all necessary documents from your treating physicians, clarify any vague entries made by your doctor when they need to decipher the meaning of a treatment note and organize all the material into the form preferred by the Social Security claim reviewers responsible for reading, evaluating, and deciding whether to approve your claim.
Do you need help with your disability claim? The Sackett Disability Law Firm will help you get the benefits you deserve.