How disabled is “Disabled”?:
Social Security defines “Disability” as: “The inability to do any substantial gainful activity* by reason of any medically determinable, physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months”.
“Substantial, gainful activity” means work involving significant and productive physical or mental duties. The work needs to be done for pay or profit. If the person applying for Social Security Disability is able to engage in substantial gainful activity, then he or she will not be considered disabled. This is true regardless whatever physical or mental impairments he may have.
I applied and was turned down!:
Over 50% of applicants are initially denied. From that point, there are several levels of appeals that include specific deadlines. If you do not appeal in the prescribed time your claim can be dismissed. If you have been turned down for disability, don’t be discouraged and don’t delay!
The paperwork and documentation you need for the appeal level can be complicated and confusing. A disability attorney is familiar with this appeal process, thus you stand a better chance of winning SSA Disability benefits with a disability lawyer than without one.
If you have been turned down, please give my office a call and we can discuss your options.
But I can’t afford an attorney!:
You CAN afford an attorney! The federal government has set forth the fees an attorney can claim. Attorneys are paid 25% of your past due benefits or $6,000.00, the lesser of the two. If you don’t win, the attorney does not get paid. You are responsible for costs (some physicians require payment for writing a letter to Social Security in support of your case, Iowa medical providers charge for copies of files). In most cases costs (if any) are manageable).
How do I improve my chances of winning my case?:
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration is not going to take your word for it that you are disabled. You need to supply them with evidence of your disability. Thus, the key to a successful Social Security Disability case is good medical documentation. Do tell your doctor up front that you are filing for disability, and see if he or she is supportive in this matter.
Do make sure your doctor is documenting your medical issues in your record.
Do keep a calendar/journal during the disability process – record medical appointment dates, contact information for your doctors, etc. This information will be helpful to you and your attorney as your case progresses.
I haven’t applied yet, what documents will I need for applying?:
- Medical Information Names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors, hospitals and clinics.
- Dates you were seen at the doctor
- Names of the medicines you’re taking
- If you were in the military service, the original or certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty.
- If you worked, your W-2 Form from last year; or if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE).
- Workers compensation information, including date of injury, claim number and proof of payment amounts.
- The name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse(s). You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate)
- Social Security Number(s) for your minor children.
- Kinds of jobs and dates you worked in the 15 years before you became unable to work. A detailed work history is important – you may want to write this information down – it will make the initial application interview go a little faster.
- Your bank or other financial institution’s Routing Transit Number and the account number, if you want the benefits electronically deposited
- More information on what is needed to apply can be found HERE.