Why Obtaining Social Security Disability Can Be Difficult

When applying for Social Security disability, it is important to know that it is not a simple and easy process. Most people who apply for these benefits, with physical or mental limitations, find that this process is more stressful due to their limitations. The disability process includes filing an application, and most applications are denied at this level. Then there is the reconsideration level and hearing level.

If you try to ask questions about how the social security disability process works, it can be difficult to get those answers right away. The claims representatives process your claims and can ask basic questions, but there are disability examiners that make the decisions on your claim. You may be in contact with such an examiner to discuss your work history, daily living activities, and your medical history.

Why is the process so time-consuming? The Social Security uses a very distinct definition of disability. It is not enough for have a certain percentage loss-of-function or to lose the ability to return to a job. The individual must have a severe medically determinable impairment (either mental, physical or both), which needs to last for one full year or longer. Secondly, the condition needs to be severe enough that it impacts normal daily activities and interferes with the ability to do basic work activities.

Furthermore, when the applicant for Social Security disability benefits supplies medical physician and clinic information, Social Security then sends out letters to those physicians and clinics, asking for specific information related to the claimant. The address and other contact information that you supply to Social Security needs to be accurate, or it could cause a significant delay in your case.

Additionally, it is important for you to supply a complete and detailed work history during your interview for disability benefits. It is best to write down this work history before your appointment so that you don’t forget or accidentally omit anything in error.

Typically, if your limitations don’t rule out the ability to return to your former work, you may be denied on this basis. If limitations prevent you to return to your former job, you will move to a final step – determining whether you have education and skills to possibly perform any other work. If your condition is severe enough where you cannot do your previous work or any work that relies on their education and job skills, you will most likely meet requirements for disability.

Decisions regarding disability claims can take between 90-120 days, or longer, from the time that you apply for benefits. It is best not to get discouraged, as the denial rate for initial and reconsideration applications tends to be somewhat higher than you’d expect. However, going through the reconsideration phase allows you to get the hearing, and this phase may get you the approval that you need. Due to the length and complex issues surrounding the application process, it is highly recommended to seek out attorney representation, as he or she can handle all necessary paperwork and be able to advocate for you.

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