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
Preparing for the
Social Security Application Process
You Paid for
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
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.
eligibility step in the application process is handled by Social
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
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 personal records
prior to applying for Social Security disability benefits is one
of the most important first steps a disability applicant can
Having a paper or digital copy of your medical records will help
expedite your disability claim and can often lead to a higher
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
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
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
allowing both of you to focus on the process of winning your disability benefits.
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
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
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All Rights Reserved.