When you file your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, the wait to hear if you’ve been approved or denied can be excruciating. On average, people are waiting about five and a half months to get a decision.
The worst part is that – should your initial claim be denied – you have to go through the whole wait again when your Reconsideration is filed. (And the wait is likely to be much longer if you get denied again and have to request a Hearing.)
Is there any way to hurry things up and increase the odds of approval? Possibly. Here are some tips:
Talk to your doctor before you file.
Don’t wait on your doctor to tell you that you need to file (because most won’t). Instead, make an appointment to talk to your doctor about your situation. Explain that you need to file for disability benefits and why – including a brief description of your job duties and how your condition interferes with them. Ask your doctor to be supportive and tell them to expect paperwork from the Disability Determination Services asking about your ability to function.
While this may be intimidating, most doctors are respectful of their patients’ feelings and needs, and many become their patients’ best allies.
Provide copies of your own medical records.
Social Security will attempt to obtain medical records from your treatment providers, including doctors, physical therapists and hospitals. Unfortunately, some providers are better than others at complying with requests for records. You can shorten your wait and make it easier on yourself by obtaining copies of your own medical file and providing them with your claim.
Stay in contact with the disability claims examiner.
Once your file is transferred to the Disability Determination Services (DDS), your case will be assigned to a claims examiner. This person compiles all of the evidence and records needed to make a decision. Stay in touch with them, and respond promptly to any calls or letters requesting additional information.
When fighting for Social Security Disability benefits, experienced legal guidance from someone who understands the system can often be just the edge you need.