The Social Security Administration has rigid guidelines for defining disabilities. Even if you believe you meet those guidelines, SSA could deny your benefits claim.
There is a complex application process, and good preparation is essential when you seek Social Security Disability approval.
A little background
If you have a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working, you have a right to apply for Social Security Disability, or SSD, benefits. Unfortunately, the SSA denies most of the claims they initially receive. If this happens to you, the next step is to rely on the help of an advocate who can slice through the government red tape by appealing the decision.
Reasons for denial
Due to their stringent requirements, the SSA can cite several reasons for denying your claim:
- You are still able to work.
- Your disability is not severe enough.
- You did not provide sufficient medical evidence to support your claim.
- You failed to follow the prescribed medical treatment.
It is essential to provide complete medical records to support your claim for SSD benefits. You can work with your doctor and other healthcare professionals to assemble them. You could also give the SSA permission to pull your records from the appropriate healthcare providers, but it will take much longer than if you were to do the legwork yourself.
Records for a physical impairment
Your doctor must sign a Physical Residual Functional Capacity, or RFC, form. This must accompany a letter with your diagnosis, date of the onset of injury and how the injury limits your ability to work together with any treatment notes. Include assessment records if you use a medical device such as a wheelchair or walker.
Records for a mental impairment
Along with a signed RFC form from your psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist or counselor, include professional assessments showing your ability to function. Also provide psychiatric evaluations or neuropsychological tests, IQ test results and letters from caregivers or nonprofit agencies that help you.
Prepare for a win
You will probably have to pay for copies you need from healthcare providers, but there are also free records, including those for blood test results and X-rays. Payment for obtaining complete medical records will vary, but the cost will be worth it if the information you submit in your claim helps you to qualify for SSD benefits.