Top 5 things you must do to get your disability claim approved.
– Matt Sauerwald, Vice-President, Disability Help Group
Matt Sauerwald, a prominent Disability Advocate in the U.S. has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in Social Security Disability law. Matt has dedicated his profession to helping those who are unable to work due to a disability and has successfully represented thousands of clients in their claims for disability benefits.
In this article, Matt shares his top five tips to get your disability claim approved.
1. Understand the burden of proof.
Many individuals applying for disability do not understand what Social Security needs to find to make a favorable disability determination. The basics are that to get approved an individual needs to convince Social Security they cannot work, not just their past jobs, but any jobs that exist in the national economy full-time basis.
Social Security defines full-time work as regular and continuous work, 8 hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year with only a lunch break and two 15-minute breaks throughout the day. However, for individuals age 50 – 54 and age 55 and up, there are special rules that make it easier to win a favorable disability determination. Understanding these subtle differences can be the difference between winning and losing.
2. Be out of work or expect to be out of work for 12 months or longer.
Social Security does not offer compensation for short-term disabilities. To compensate for disability, Social Security requires a continuous 12-month period where an individual is unable to work due to a medical event or a combination of medical conditions.
If you are unsure about how long you are going to be out of work you should still file. However, if you know for sure you will be back to work in 3 – 6 months, this program is not for you, and you are not going to get paid.
3. Cooperate with the process.
Dealing with the government can be frustrating. Individuals applying for Social Security disability are often in tremendously difficult life situations. They have medical conditions that are serious and prevent them from working. They turn to Social Security because they are in dire need of financial and medical assistance and are simply seeking access to the money they paid into the system now that they really need it. It can routinely take 6 – 9 months to get an initial determination.
During the early part of the process, SSA sends out a lot of paperwork that must be completed. SSA schedules medical examinations with SSA doctors. In between paperwork and these appointments, there is often silence. The most important thing to do is cooperate. If Social Security sends forms, you fill them out immediately. You submit them. You make sure SSA has them. If SSA schedules an appointment, you go. Don’t fight the process because all that does is cause further delay or denials.
4. Seek medical treatment.
People often think that their cases come down to how they describe their disabilities. This may be the case when you get to hearing, but at the early stages, it all boils down to what you can prove, not what you say.
Individuals who are in medical treatment have a better chance of getting approved than individuals who are not. That does not mean you cannot win with little to no medical treatment, it just means it is harder and more likely will require a hearing in front of a judge.
If you are in medical treatment, use each treatment event as a chance to document how your medical conditions are limiting your ability to live a normal life. When you see a doctor or nurse and they ask how you are doing, don’t just say “okay”.
If every time you see a doctor you say “okay”, by the time SSA makes a decision you will have repeated entries that you’re doing “okay”. Even if you are doing okay at the of the treatment say “I’m doing okay but…..yesterday, I was not” or “Last week was really bad for me.”
5. Don’t give up.
If you really cannot work because of your medical conditions, don’t give up. Social Security saves hundreds of millions of dollars each year by denying and delaying cases. Remember, this is your money you are fighting for!
Seek help before giving in.
If your claim has been denied or you are currently working through the appeal process and need help, contact Mr. Sauerwald and the team at Disability Help Group at 800-800-3332 today and see how we can help get your claim approved. Since 2010 Matthew Sauerwald has been a leading voice for the disabled community in seeking compensation from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Sauerwald has led one of the nation’s most successful disability advocacy organizations Disability Help Group since 2015 and has litigated thousands of Social Security disability hearings resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of disability awards. Learn more about Matt here.