When you’ve suffered an injury from an accident or the onset of a major chronic illness that prevents you from working or enjoying your life, many people turn to social security and disability benefits to help get them through the difficult times. However, this process can often take quite a bit of time, causing anxiety and financial worries while you wait. What can you do to ensure the process isn’t held up? Is there anything you can do to hurry the whole thing along?
How It Works: Claiming for Disability
When you fill out an application to claim disability benefits, it is sent to be evaluated by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). This process can take up to six months or longer for them to make a judgement call on what you have submitted, and your payments can take a few weeks after that to start being processed. If you have failed to provide all the requested documentation or miss a few elements of the application, you risk having your claim denied outright. The DDS does not take the time to send it back to you for error correction, which means if you’re denied you’ll have to file an appeal. Common mistakes include technicalities, inadequate or not fully detailed documentation and presenting the disability inadequately, but you can be denied for any number of reasons.
Can you check on your application when it’s in process?
Waiting to hear about the status of your application for your disability claim can be frustrating. The Social Security Administration realized this, and created an online portal where you can check on your status. Not only can you download forms and see what services and funds you might qualify for, but you can also check on the status of any application you have pending with them. You can also fill out and file your claims online, streamlining the process. You don’t even have to do your application all at once, as the site offers ways to save an application that is in process and come back to it later.
What can you do to speed up the process?
It’s often said that when dealing with the government, “it takes as long as it takes.” However, this may not offer you any comfort when you’re waiting for your disability benefits to start appearing in your bank account. Using a third-party, such as a disability lawyer, can sometimes help to speed the process along. These professionals are well-versed in what works and what doesn’t on applications, and can ensure that you submit the correct forms and paperwork. Starting the process with an attorney you trust also forms a good relationship down the line if you need to appeal the DDS’s decision.
What if I’m rejected?
It’s estimated that up to two-thirds of all applications for disability benefits are initially rejected. Given this frightening statistic, you will likely need a lot of patience when going for benefits you feel that you deserve. One of the easiest things you can do is to contact a disability benefits lawyer who can help and advise you with your claim, as well as handle the re-application process. Given that you will often have to deal with claims examiners, physicians and administrative law judges among many other people, getting a good attorney on your side is a sure way to streamline the process you’re about to go through. Select an attorney that is well-versed on the laws for your state and has a reputation with the decision boards. All of these factors can help to move your appeal along in the process.
Financial and family pressures may increase your need for resolution of your claim. Speak to an attorney if you are at all concerned about the timeline you’re facing as they may be able to help streamline and quicken the process. Take your time to fill out the application and provide all the information they require, and you’re more likely to get through on the first try.
According to information found on the Social Security Administration site, 2,640,100 people filed disability claims in 2103 and only 884,894 were awarded. It can take months or even years to receive a final decision. Writer Lisa Becker offers this information for those who have applied and/or are waiting to hear.