So you’ve submitted your application for Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB). Now what?
Just because you’ve taken the necessary steps to complete your application doesn’t mean you’ve already done everything you can to put yourself in the best possible position for benefits approval. Even after your application is submitted, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will continue to monitor you to verify whether or not your disability is severe enough to warrant disability benefits.
But there are things that you can do while you wait for the SSA to make a decision to help your case. Here are the top three things you can do to give your application the best chance at being approved.
1. Keep Treating for Your Condition
Assuming your condition was significant enough to necessitate your applying for benefits in the first place, you’ll likely still need to undergo treatment in some form while your application is processed. But just seeing your doctor isn’t enough. You should also follow your doctor’s orders about treatment to the letter.
Noncompliance with the treatment plan set out by your doctor will likely cause the SSA to deny your claim. If you have lung disease but keep smoking despite your health care provider’s instructions, that is noncompliance. If your doctor tells you that you need insulin to control your diabetes but you don’t want to or can’t pay for insulin, that is also noncompliance. Even not taking medications with unpleasant side effects is considered noncompliance.
If you ignore your doctor’s orders, then the SSA can determine that it is actually your failure to treat your condition that is preventing you from returning to work, not the condition itself.
The continuing records of your treatment can help highlight your need for DIB. If you are denied and you file a request for reconsideration, or if you have been denied twice and must go to a hearing, you can submit new medical evidence that wasn’t included in your original application that shows your ongoing treatment. Need physical therapy after a major back injury? Make sure you and your therapist take note of your visits, which therapy regimens you follow in and out of office, as well as your therapist’s prognosis for your recovery. Make sure that there are written records of every doctor’s visit.
2. Document Your Daily Life
Real-world examples of your disability’s effect on your life serve as perfect supplements to medical evidence.
The SSA will monitor any applicant’s day-to-day life, including activity on social media platforms. If you share a photo of a vacation you took with your family after claiming that a disability is keeping you from walking, the SSA can use that against you.
Rather than documenting your life on social media, keep a journal of any day-to-day tasks that have become difficult or impossible because of your disability. Has something as simple as going to the restroom become an ordeal you have to plan for in advance? Do you have to sit and catch your breath after walking just a few feet? Are your hands in so much pain that you literally can’t perform tasks such as typing? If these happen to you, document them in detail.
If you must appear before a judge, having a journal with you to help you remember examples of your daily struggles with disability will only help prove your credibility and support your case.
3. Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney
A Social Security disability lawyer will help you navigate the complex world of applying for and receiving disability benefits. Your attorney’s legal team will juggle all the calls to your health care providers. They file your appeal within the 60 day deadline if you are denied. They compile your medical records and make sure everything’s up to date and relevant. And they will prepare you for your disability hearing, from gathering concrete evidence to representing you in court.
Your attorney and their legal team is an asset that you can use for any disability-related questions or concerns, even after you are finished with the appeal process. If you are in a car accident and aren’t sure if the insurance settlement will affect your monthly disability, your attorney can help answer your questions. And if you aren’t sure whether early retirement or Social Security disability is right for you, your case manager can explain the difference between the two programs.
If you’re worried about paying for an attorney, they often work on contingency. At Hensley Legal Group, our fee is 25 percent of your past-due benefits or $6,000, whichever amount is smaller. But if you aren’t awarded disability, then you won’t owe us a single penny.
As with any government program, Social Security disability can be messy and confusing. But you don’t have to handle the application process alone.
Help from a Local Social Security Disability Lawyer
You should put yourself in the best position to receive the help you need. If you or someone you know are trying to traverse the daunting world of Social Security, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. If you are in the process of filling out the application, our ebook 8 Mistakes To Avoid When Filing For Social Security Disability Benefits can be downloaded for free on our website. And if you have any questions about your application, appealing a denial, or preparing for a hearing, please call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.