Waiting On Your Social Security Disability Claim To Be Approved Or Denied? Two Things You Can Do To Help Your Case
One of the most common mistakes that people make when they file for Social Security disability benefits is that they assume that they've given the agency all their information, including the names of their doctors, and that there's nothing else to do but wait for a decision. That could actually cause you to lose your case, particularly if your diagnosis is fairly new or your condition is something that can vary from time to time, like a back injury or migraines. Learn what you can do to help improve your odds of a successful claim.
1.) Learn the difference between the claims representative that took your application and the claims examiner that is making the decision to approve or deny your benefits.
The claims representative handles your initial application and all the technical details of your eligibility, like whether you've worked long enough to qualify for benefits and if you also need to file for Supplemental Security Income, which is a needs-based disability benefit.
The claims examiner, on the other hand, works with the Disability Determination Services in your state, which is a centralized agency. He or she heads up the team that will make the decision to either medically approve or deny your claim.
The reason that you need to understand the difference is that once your claim is in the hands of the examiner, the local office representative has no more control over your case. He or she won't see it again until you've either been medically approved or denied.
2.) Report any changes in your condition and any new treatments to the claims examiner, even if you think they should already have the information.
The first letter of communication from the claims examiner will include his or her name and direct contact information, including a phone number. You need to use that number to report any changes in your condition for the worse, as well as new medications and treatments, even if you've already given the agency the name of the doctor that's treating you.
The reason that this is important is that the claims examiner may only contact your physician once, fairly early on in the process. Once your doctor sends back your medical records, there's no reason for the claims examiner to make any further followups with your doctor unless you tell him or her that there is new information to be gained. Many people don't realize that the lines of communication between their doctor and the claims examiner are fairly closed.
That means that if you suffer from a condition like migraines or a back injury, the claims examiner may make his or her decision about your case based on the last thing in your file as of the date the file was requested. He or she won't know that you've been experiencing migraines almost daily or that your back pain has progressed to the point where you are now on a walker unless you call the claims examiner and give him or her that information. This will also give the examiner the necessary reason to re-contact your physician for the new documentation, which can include your doctor's notes, your x-rays and lab tests, and information about your prescriptions and side-effects.
Once you file for Social Security disability benefits, it's a mistake to simply sit back and wait on the decision. Your condition is ongoing, so you need to keep an ongoing line of communication open with the claims examiner. That way, he or she can make the decision based on the most current information—not the information that was available 3-4 months ago when your doctor first responded to requests for information.
If you're having trouble getting your disability claim approved, consider contacting an attorney who handles Social Security disability claims. An attorney can often help you gather the right information to support your case and can help you make certain that your information is going to the right person at all times.
For more information, contact Waycaster & Allred or a similar firm.