In an ideal world, individuals who are truly disabled would find quick access to disability benefits and medical care. Unfortunately, the disability benefit system as it is currently administered by the Social Security Administration does not always work this way.
Most Social Security disability and SSI disability claims are denied at the initial claim level. To win their claims, most SSD and SSI claimants will need to appeal their claim several times, at least as far as the hearing level. Nevertheless, you can increase the chances of winning an SSDI or SSI benefit claim by doing the following:
- Find out if your personal physician will support your disability case. If so, have your doctor complete a detailed statement (preferably an RFC form) as to why you are disabled and unable to work.
- Submit copies of your medical records (including the most recent updates) when you apply, and each time you appeal.
- Cooperate fully with the disability claims examiner working on your case. This includes responding promptly to letters and notices, as well as going to any consultative medical exams scheduled by DDS.
- Keep tabs on the status of your disability case. (If you are not represented, you can call DDS for updates.)
- Don't let important deadlines lapse on your disability claim.
- Maintain a good relationship with the people working on your case. This includes the claims rep at your local Social Security office, the disability claims examiner at DDS, and your attorney or representative if you've hired one to help you. It is simply a fact: people will do more to help you when you have established a friendly, courteous relationship with them.
- Get a disability lawyer or nonattorney disability representative as soon as your SSD or SSI claim is denied.