Details, just like in life, are always important when filing for Social Security disability benefits.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Know when you stopped earning above $1,170.00 per month gross. It's called Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and as long as you are making above this amount, you will not be considered to be disabled. For most people who have sufficient work credits, you can still work and file for disability benefits. But, if you ever go above this amount, you run the risk of your claim being denied. It's always better if you don't work, but many people cannot afford this option.
2. If you have stopped working, then be aware of the date in which you last worked. This could very well be your onset date, the date in which you became disabled. Miss it, and you could have still been engaging in SGA, or you could be leaving money on the table.
3. Be sure and go to the doctor to have the medical evidence to back up the allegation you are disabled. If you claim, for example, you have been disabled since 2013, then you are going to have to have the medical evidence to support such a claim. By the way, if you were diagnosed with your condition in 2000, don't expect Social Security to go back seventeen years to retrieve those medical records. Your medical records need to be at least within two years of the date in which you alleged you became disabled.
4. Keep good records as you file for disability benefits. Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself, and it's hard to find someone in Social Security to blame if something does go wrong with your application for benefits. If you mail anything to your local office, make sure you make copies and send things certified so someone has to sign for it.
5. Get a bank account. When you file for disability benefits, you'll need to give Social Security your routing and bank account information for automatic deposit. It's the law now to reduce paper, so go ahead and get a bank account before you file.
6. If you move, change your address with Social Security. You'll never know what's going on if you are not receiving correspondence.
7. Sign up online through Social Security's website to view the status of your case. You can log on and see what is going on and you can also anticipate when something next is going to happen. Further, it keeps you from having to call the 800# and wait on the phone.
8. Explain to your doctors you are filing for disability benefits and ask them to put in your medical records what kind of limitations you have. A diagnosis is good, and diagnosis listing the limitations it causes you is even better. It helps Social Security understand how you are unable to work.
9. Be patient and understand the system. Employees of the Social Security Administration are working harder with less resources now. Your claim is going to take a while to be processed.
10. If you do get denied and you have to eventually have a hearing, be sure and keep going to the doctor to build more medical evidence. The more you have, the better off you are.
We help claimants throughout Texas and California fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. You can always feel free to contact our office at: (888) 780-9125.