Social Security Disability

Applicant Assistance Network



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Helping you Navigate
the Social Security Disability Process!


If you're thinking of applying for Social Security disability benefits, Disability Associates is here to help.  We provide a FREE case review to determine your chances of receiving benefits.  If you decide to use an advocate, we can help you with your disability claim even if you have been previously denied benefits. 


The Non-attorney Disability Advocate?

Why use a non-attorney disability advocate?  This is an important question that every Social Security disability applicant should ask.  A non-attorney disability advocate is a specially trained individual with the knowledge and skills required to win your Social Security disability benefits.   When compared to the average attorney, an advocate can usually acquire your disability benefits for less money and in a shorter period of time.   

Many attorney represented disability claims can take a year or more to complete while the applicant sinks further into financial ruin.   Adding insult to injury, those using attorney representation often end up paying a larger attorney fee because the case took longer.  With a properly trained disability advocate, an applicant can expect to receive a disability decision within 120 days or less.  You get your disability benefits faster while simultaneously paying a smaller fee for the same ultimate case result!  If you would like to be contacted by a disability advocate without obligation, please click here.  


Preparing for the
Social Security Application Process
 

You Paid for these Benefits!

Many disability applicants approach Social Security with hat-in-hand expecting to be treated fairly.  They quickly find out that successfully applying for disability benefits can be tricky at best.  You cannot imagine the frustration and anger expressed to us by folks who have worked all of their lives, only to be told that they do not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.  Well, Social Security disability is not a welfare program!  It is an insurance policy paid for by working people and was intended to act as a financial buffer in case of serious illness or injury.  However, many people are denied these benefits because of ignorance of the system or an inability to find effective representation. 

We strongly recommend that you prepare yourself for the application process and consider using a properly trained disability representative.  Generally, it costs you nothing to use representation until and unless you win benefits.  This fee structure makes having a representative a safe and cost effective means of acquiring your benefits while avoiding many of the frustrations characteristic of the disability application process. 
 

Preparing to Apply:

The Social Security disability application process is divided into two eligibility levels.  These are:  Eligibility to apply and eligibility to receive benefits.  The determination of eligibility to apply for Social Security (SSA) disability benefits is made by your local Social Security disability office.  There is little anyone can do to help you meet the eligibility to apply, because this determination is based on your past work and income history.

The determination of eligibility to receive disability benefits is a medical decision based on the severity of your condition.  How your condition is presented to Social Security is critical to the decision.  Even if you suffer from an extremely serious medical impairment, your case can still be denied if the case is not presented properly. 

There are two major Social Security disability benefit programs.  These are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  Generally, SSI is for those with little or no work history and have few if any financial resources.   SSDI is for those who meet Social Security's criteria for working quarters paid into the system.  To apply and receive either of these benefit packages, you must meet the programs specific eligibility requirements, both financially and medically. 

The financial eligibility step in the application process is handled by Social Security at first contact with the applicant or his representative.  If you're not financially eligible for one or both benefit programs, your application for benefits will end at this application step. 

Social Security's medical eligibility requirements are used to determine if the applicant's impairment is serious enough to meet Social Security's definition of total disability.  To meet Social Security's definition, the applicant must be totally disabled and unable to perform work.  Here is where a disability advocate can be of greatest service to a person applying for benefits.  It is not enough to just apply for disability benefits.  You must also win them!  Winning disability benefits from Social Security is not easy and requires a good deal of planning and preparation. 

What approach is used to argue for your benefits can defer greatly and can often determine when and how much benefit you will receive.  That is why it is so important to engage a professional disability advocate to assist you throughout the entire application process. 


Preparing your Paperwork:

Preparing your personal records prior to applying for Social Security disability benefits is one of the most important first steps a disability applicant can make.  Having a paper or digital copy of your medical records will help expedite your disability claim and can often lead to a higher benefit payment.  Here are a few suggestions for preparing paperwork:

1.  Get a legible copy of all medical records from all sources that treated the (alleged) impairment you are seeking benefits for.  Do not waste your time collecting medical evidence on minor or unrelated impairments, unless those impairments significantly add to your physical or mental limitations. 

2.  Make sure that the dates of the medical evidence coincide with the time that the impairment began and during the treatment period leading up to the date of application for benefits.  It is non-productive to provide Social Security with medical evidence prior to the onset of the impairment you are alleging.

3.  Be prepared to provide a copy of your medical records to both Social Security and your disability representative.  The representative will use your medical records to formulate both the application strategy and the argument that will be presented to Social Security on your behalf. 

4.  Write out a descriptive list of the jobs you have performed over the past ten to fifteen years.  Social Security will request a copy of your work history and may use this evidence against you.  Social Security wants to determine if you can still perform your past work or other less demanding work despite your impairment.  If this decision can be made, Social Security will deny your benefits.  Therefore, how you describe the duties and demands of your past work can determine the outcome of your case.  For this reason, it is best to allow your advocate to present your vocational information whenever possible.  The disability advocate knows what Social Security is looking for and can help you to avoid making comments that result in a denial of your claim.

5.  If in the future your receive additional medical treatment of any kind for your impairment, you should add these records to your existing copies.  This action will keep your medical records up to date and ready to use. 


You and the Disability Advocate

A Disability Representative, also known as a Disability Advocate, Disability Specialist or Non-attorney Representative is a specially trained individual who assists others who are applying for Social Security disability benefits.  Disability advocates are the best and most cost effective way of receiving help when applying for Social Security disability benefits.  Using a disability advocate can significantly improve your chances of winning benefits while cutting weeks off the time it takes to complete your claim.  Disability Advocates are required by law to follow certain rules and standards associated with the representation of a Social Security disability claim.  These standards protect both you and the representative from legal action, allowing both of you to focus on the process of winning your disability benefits. 


Hiring a Disability
Advocate

Some eighty percent of disability applicants who apply for Social Security disability are denied benefits on first application.  This usually occurs because of how the case was presented.   For this reason, we strongly recommend that you consider hiring a Certified Disability Advocate to assist you in the representation of your Social Security disability claim.  Hiring an advocate is easy and it costs you nothing unless and until your case is won.  


Free Advocate Referral Service

The Applicant Assistance Network enables you to place your name and information about your case into our confidential advocate referral database.  Once in our database, your case information will be reviewed by one of our Certified Disability Advocates.  If your case appears viable, a disability advocate will contact you to perform a formal case assessment at no charge.  If your case meets our criteria, you will have the opportunity to hire the advocate to assist you in acquiring your benefits.  Again, there is no charge for the referral or the formal case assessment and you have the final word on hiring the advocate or doing it alone.

Please note that the Applicant Assistance Network cannot guarantee that your case will be accepted by the advocate reviewing your case.  The decision to represent a case is between the client and the advocate representative.  All advocate members of the Applicant Assistance Network have agreed to all ethical standards of practices as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. 


 

Copyright 2011.  Disability Associates, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.