Getting ready to file your Social Security disability case? -Be sure you're ready!

So, basically, you think the best way to go about filing for your Social Security disability case is to go online, fill everything out and just roll the dice.


But, if you pay attention to what I'm telling you, I could possibly make your life easier.


The very first thing you have to do is get prepared.


The number one mistake people make when filing their adult disability case is that they do not give full and accurate information for their treating providers (their doctors or hospital visits). For example, they are vague about dates of hospitalizations or doctor visits. Or, they give incomplete address or phone numbers. There are a large number of Dr. Smith's in the world. If you cannot give SSA the correct information, then the medical records will not be ordered and you'll likely be denied.


Second, a lot of people don't follow through with the correspondence SSA sends them after they file. If you file an internet application, you'll have to sign the paperwork SSA sends you before your disability case will begin. You went to all this trouble to file for disability and then drop the ball right out of the gate. Following through can make your life that much easier.


This goes back to number one, but many people don't list all their doctors. Look, before you get started, write down all your doctors and dates of treatment (just when you started and the last time you were there). This gives SSA (through DDS) a date range from which to order your records.


Here's another thing many people do to screw up their case. SSA (through DDS) will only go back in time two years from your onset date -which is the date you allege you became disabled. If you're trying to show you were disabled 10 years ago and you don't have any recent medical treatment, then you're going to be denied. So, get recent medical treatment to show you are currently unable to work.


Here's a big one: If you received short-term disability from your employer or through an insurance company, it shows up as earnings. And, we all know you can't continue to work and file for disability. So, be able to show SSA that these reported earnings are not due to work, but through an insurance program. If SSA believes you are still working (above a certain level) and you filed for disability, then you'll be denied. So, the avoid this problem, be ready to show pay-stubs, award letters, etc.


Lastly, if you only qualify for SSI, be prepared to fill out the SSI application IN ADDITION TO your Adult Disability Report. THESE ARE TWO SEPARATE REPORTS AND MUST BE FILED WITH SSA. Learn that SSDI and SSI are two different programs and you need to understand which one you fall into. If you have worked consistently for 5 out of the last 10 years, then you will likely qualify for SSDI. If you have not worked or not worked in a really long time, then you may qualify for SSI and the second application must be filled out and sent to the field office having jurisdiction over your case (your local SSA office). IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT, CALL SSA AT THEIR NATIONAL NUMBER AND ASK, "What is my Date of Last Insured?" -If SSA tells you a date in the future, then you still have disability benefits and can file for SSDI. If your DLI is in the past or there is not one, then you should file for SSI. -This gets a little tricky when a DLI has passed but not too long ago. If this is the case, you need to hire an experienced disability attorney.


The problem with the disability system is that it is very complicated and I can't make it any easier on you. If I could, I would. But, then guys like me wouldn't have a job. By the way, if you'd like to discuss all this stuff further, give my office a call at: (888) 780-9125....Ask for Burke, that's me.

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