Social Security Disability Initial Application
Step 1: Initial Disability Application
The first part in the social security disability benefits application begins with the initial stage. This part involves an applicant submitting a new application for disability benefits and SSA reviewing their claim. An individual can apply for disability benefits by filling out an application online on the SSA’s website, calling his or her local Social Security office, or finding a disability advocate for assistance and representation.
Chances of Approval
Anyone applying for disability benefits for the first time should know that applicants have almost an 80% chance of denial in the initial stage. There are a few ways to increase the chances of approval to be among the 20% who are approved. Its important one completely fills out the application in detail and gathers all documentation to prevent being wrongfully denied. Seeking out the assistance of an experienced disability advocate or attorney who will handle your application can increase an applicant’s chance of approval by 40 to 50%.
What to do before you apply
Before you apply for disability benefits, there are a few steps you should go through to significantly increase your chances of approval. First you need to make sure you have seen a doctor in the past 12 months for the condition you plan on applying for. If you haven’t seen a doctor, schedule an appointment to visit a doctor. If you can’t afford to see a doctor and/or don’t have health insurance, contact the Disability Care Center and we will provide you with the all low cost clinics in your area to see a doctor. You can also visit our Low Cost Clinics page to view a list of low cost clinics in the three major cities of every state.
When you see your doctor or if you already have, it is important to inform him or her of your intentions to apply for disability benefits due to your condition. Ask your doctor if they believe you should file for disability benefits and if the answer is yes, have them write a recommendation for you explaining that your disabling condition prevents you from achieving substantial gainful activity (SGA). Make sure you get a copy of all medical documentation (from all doctors and medical specialist) regarding your condition to submit with your initial application.
The evidence you provide is all the SSA has to determine if your disability prevents you from achieving SGA in the initial stage. In other words, supplying all relevant documents and information is essential to getting approved for disability benefits.
Consultative Medical Exam
When you apply for disability benefits, your application is sent to your local Disability Determinations Services office to be evaluated by a disability examiner working along side a doctor. They will evaluate your case by the SSA standards and determine if your condition actually prevents you from achieving substantial gainful activity (SGA). If the disability examiner has a question or discrepancy about your condition, the SSA will ask you to attend a consultative medical exam that will take place with an independent physician. You will need to show up to this exam or your application will be denied. This exam can be quick or long in length depending on what the examiner needs answered. This exam can be prevented if you provide all updated medical documentation concerning your disabling condition.
How long will it take to receive a decision?
The initial stage will take anywhere between 3 to 6 months before you will receive a decision about your disability benefits application. If the Social Security Administration denies you disability benefits, you have 60 days from that point to appeal and move on to the next stage in the application process. If you are denied and plan to appeal, you may want to consider seeking help through a disability advocate to represent your case in the hearing.