April 24, 2016

Question: Is My Medical Condition Enough for Social Security Benefits?

One of the most common questions we hear is whether a particular medical condition will qualify you for disability benefits.  For the particular condition, you can name most any condition: heart disease, cancer victim, stroke survivor, ruptured vertebral disk, lupus, bi-polar disorder etc., etc. will qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.

If you’re asking about approval on the listings, the closest that Social Security comes to an automatic approval, the best answer is usually to file and application with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and see.  Whether a particular condition meets a listing is a question of what the condition is combined with how severe the condition is, but the only way you’ll know if SSA will allow you benefits is to file and see.

It’s not hard to file an application with the Social Security administration.  Just call your local office and they will get you started.  (You can find your local field office here.)

The SSA will take your information over the phone, and be ready to give them a lot of information.  Be ready to give them all of your doctors’ names and their contact information, and be ready to give the SSA agent your “date of onset.”

“Date of onset” is the day you became disabled.  For most people, this is the last day that you actually worked.

We normally encourage you to start the initial application.  It’s so easy to do, and it is the SSA’s responsibility to collect all of medical records and process your claim at the initial phase.  Almost every week, I warn potential clients to beware of attorneys (and non-attorneys) in the Social Security Disability industry who want to get involved in your case in the initial phase.  As a general rule, don’t let them.

It’s so easy at the initial phase and there is not much that an attorney or non-attorney representative can do to make it more likely that the SSA will approve your claim.  If you can do it yourself, and your condition is bad enough for you to be approved on a listing, then you shouldn’t have to incur attorney fees for getting your claim approved

(Granted, the process is overwhelming for some people, so if you need us at the initial phase, we will bring you to the office and help you with the call.  You will incur the fee, but you may need the service.)

Regardless of whether you file your application by yourself or whether we help you with it, “what should be done” and “what actually gets done” are not rarely the same thing.  We’ve many heart disease victims, cancer victims and people struggling with bad backs, who’ve been put to fighting not only their medical condition but fighting the SSA for their disability benefits.  If your benefits get denied at the initial phase, that’s when you’ll need us to fight for you.

As a general rule, the SSA will let you known within a few weeks to a couple of months whether they are denying or granting your benefits.  If they grant them, and you were able to make the initial application by yourself, then the fight for your benefits is over before it started.

If SSA denies your benefits, you’ll get a long letter from the SSA that won’t tell you much.  But the letter will make it obvious that either nobody at the SSA looked at your medical records, or the SSA didn’t get all of they medical records they were supposed to get.

If SSA sends you a denial letter, you need to get it to us IMMEDIATELY because we’ll have only 60 days to request a reconsideration and get the process moving towards a hearing with an SSA Administrative Law Judge.

If you think you’re going to need Social Security Disability, call Sherie at my office (229) 377-1683.  Let her get your information and she’ll give you your preliminary instructions on getting your claim started.

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