How to Get Social Security Disability Approved

Solving financial problems seems impossible when your disability prevents you from supporting yourself or your family. To assist disabled former workers with this awful dilemma, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits to qualified applicants. Here are the best tips to maximize your SSD approval chances.

Get an Experienced SSD Lawyer

The time between the day you file your SSD claim and the day you receive your first benefit payment can be from 9 months to 18 months. Because of the long delay in processing many claims, you need to make sure your case is filed with everything needed to support your SSD claim.

Qualified Social Security Disability attorneys know exactly what the SSA wants to see to approve your disability claim. Expert preparation of your claim means collecting a complete set of supporting medical records, finding the most qualified medical opinion in those records, and understanding the key Social Security Disability regulations that apply to your physical or mental impairments.

Law Office of Attorney Daniel Berger has concentrated on Social Security Disability law for 35 years. Our expertise in getting SSD benefits for deserving clients means that your claim will be well prepared and presented with decades of experience informing every decision. Because we know the applicable law so thoroughly, we know what part of each case might need more supporting evidence, and we know how and where to find it.  

Keep All Doctor and Therapist Appointments

Missing medical appointments can damage your SSD claim more than you think. Unless you give advance notice and reschedule the appointment in the near future, missing doctor’s appointments invites the claim examiner or hearing officer to suspect you are disinterested in your treatment and recovery. Or they may conclude that your claimed disability isn’t bothering you enough for you to see your doctor or therapist.

Keeping a Disability Diary Can Help You Get SSD Approved

When you live with a disabling impairment, you encounter situations in your daily routine in which you experience pain, or you are unable to complete a task because of your limited range of motion, or because you find it too difficult to climb the staircase or walk the distance. When this occurs, note the date and time, what happened, and who you were with.

These daily incidents are important and should be reported to your doctor at your next visit. If you don’t write them down, you may forget to mention them. Not only does this information help the doctor understand your symptoms and better diagnose you, but it also provides the Social Security Disability claim examiner with the details they need to verify your disability.

Do Not Minimize Your Disability (This is not the time to be heroic.)

Some hard-working people have a character trait that leads them to put on a brave face when they are injured or sick. In sports, we often hear that players are encouraged to play with pain, or to shake off a minor injury.

Social Security Disability benefits are not granted for bravery or for modesty. Your doctors and the Social Security Disability examiners and hearing officers need to understand how your life is affected by your physical or mental impairment. If you communicate either in your words or in your actions that “it’s not that bad,” your doctor will record that fact in their notes. If you say it during your SSD hearing, you may torpedo your claim.

Stay in Contact with Your SSD Lawyer

Law Office of Attorney Daniel Berger’s team of SSD attorneys and support staff work tirelessly to ensure you get the best representation when your SSD claim is reviewed by the SSA. To keep your lawyer up to date on all the developments in your life and in your medical treatment, you must maintain a continuous stream of communication with your lawyer’s office.

That means you need to make sure your SSD attorney has your current telephone number and street address so they can reach you when necessary. Your lawyer should be notified of any new diagnosis or new treatment you doctor orders. All surgeries and procedures you undergo need to be reported to your lawyer’s office too.

Your SSD lawyer will be able to use the new information to better support your claim, they will also need to obtain the new medical records and submit them to the SSA.

Don’t Get Discouraged by an Initial Denial

It’s easy to get discouraged if you receive an initial decision denying your SSD claim. Don’t!

Statistics show that twice as many people win their SSD benefits at the appeal stage than win during the initial review. There are many reasons an SSD claim might be denied at first. When it’s first filed, your claim is judged by a Disability Examiner who works for your state’s Disability Determination Service.

While these examiners are sincere and well-intended, they are often overwhelmed with a large volume of work and can spend a limited time examining each case. At appeal hearings, about half of all cases are awarded benefits, reversing the initial examiner’s denial. The administrative law judge (ALJ) who hears your appeal can ask questions, listen to you describe your life with your disability, and hear your SSD lawyer emphasize important details.