How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim Faster
To make sure your disability claim progresses as quickly as possible, be thorough in your application and keep on top of the status of your case.
Getting approved for disability benefits in the Social Security disability or SSI disability program can take along time, and for those whose savings and possessions are on the line (due to having to sell possessions, drain savings, and even default on loans or rent during the wait period), winning disability benefits faster is crucial to staying out of the financial abyss. You can speed up the processing of their disability claim by doing the following:
List in detail on the disability application ALL sources of medical treatment, along with the names of the doctors who have provided treatment, the addresses of hospitals and clinics that have been visited, and the dates of treatment for each facility. Make sure Social Security gets your medical records going as far back as possible to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits for which you are entitled (if you applied for Social Security disability after you became disabled, you could get retroactive disability benefits).
Provide copies of medical records with your application for disability. The vast majority of the time a disability examiner spends "processing" a disability claim is simply waiting to receive medical records. Disability examiners cannot make a decision on a disability claim until they actually have your medical records. And many hospitals and clinics are notorious for the long amount of time they take to honor medical record requests. By sending in your medical records at the time you apply for disability, you can potentially shave weeks or even months off the time your disability case may take. For more information, see our section on medical records for disability.
Keep up with your case. You should know at all times what is happening with your disability claim. This will involve periodic calling to get status updates on your claim. Why is this a good idea? It makes sense for several reasons. First of all, by calling the disability examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services), you can sometimes "spur" the examiner to work a bit faster since, as the saying goes, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Disability examiners generally do not like to receive calls from claimants, and claimants who call quite often will sometimes have their files worked on faster simply to free the examiner from excessive phone calls. Secondly, by calling for status updates, you can verify that whatever paperwork you have submitted (such as responses to questionnaires and appeal forms) was actually received. Social Security offices are legendary for not being able to locate claimant-submitted paperwork and asserting that it was "never received." For information about checking your status, see our section on waiting for a disability approval.
Consider getting a Social Security attorney to assist you with your claim. If you have a strong claim (and potentially large retroactive SSDI benefits), a disability lawyer may decide to work proactively on getting an approval as early as possible. To find a local disability attorney, use our lawyer locator.