Your Guide to the Social Security Disability Application Process
John L. Keefe
Are you considering applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits? The process of applying for SSDI can be overwhelming. In this blog post, our Massachusetts SSDI attorneys break down the SSDI application and determination process into three steps.
1. Fill out an application. The first step in applying for SSDI or SSI benefits is filling out the application. This can be done online or you can visit or call your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. If you plan to apply in person, it is best to call ahead and schedule an appointment. If you just show up, you risk not being seen.
2. Your application is sent to your state’s disability agency, usually called Disability Determination Services (DDS). Your claim will be assigned to a disability claims examiner. The examiners make the initial decisions on Social Security cases. This stage can take four months or longer, depending on how long it takes the examiner to obtain your medical records and supporting information. Sometimes it takes longer because the examiner has to wait for the claimant (you) to fill out forms about work history, pain, and activities of daily living. Sometimes it takes longer if the claimant misses an appointment with a medical specialist.
The examiner will:
- Request medical records
- Gather information about how your medical condition affects your daily life
- Confer with medical specialists
- Schedule an appointment for you to be evaluated by a medical specialist if your condition is not properly documented
- Make a decision about your eligibility for SSDI or SSI
3. You will be notified by mail of the claim decision. If you are denied SSDI benefits, you will be sent a notice of denial containing a brief description of your medical condition, the impairments that were considered by the SSA, the medical and nonmedical records that were used to make the determination, and an explanation for the denial. Sometimes the medical decision is based on only part of your medical records, due to delay by doctors offices of hospitals in responding to requests from Social Security.
Unfortunately, most people are denied the first time they apply for SSDI. Often the denial has little to do with whether a person is actually eligible for benefits. Instead, it usually has more to do with the material supporting the application. If you are denied disability benefits, don’t give up. If you are unable to work, then you can and should appeal the decision! Contact the Massachusetts SSDI attorneys at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847 and ask to schedule a free case evaluation.
To learn more about SSDI denials, request a free copy of SSDI lawyer John Keefe's book titled Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.
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