Tips To Keep In Mind When Filing For SSDI and/or SSI
Overall tips to keep in mind when applying for Social Security Disability are:
Get regular, ongoing medical treatment. Aside from it being good for your health, an examiner can't approve SSDI if there are no current medical records to back-up your claim.
Insiders say you should see a medical practitioner at least every two months. If you don't have the money to go back to your normal medical provider, go to a free clinic or an emergency room. Another possibility is that very often state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies can assist claimants in getting certain testing and medical examinations paid for. While this is for the purpose of developing a Vocational Rehabilitation claim, counselors are usually willing to supply a copy of these records.
Take your drugs and follow any other prescribed regimen when you're supposed to. If you don't, you may be turned down unless failure to follow the prescribed treatment is for good cause.
When you complete any forms, always consider the point of view of the person who will review the paperwork. How can you say what you want to say in a manner that will trigger the response you want?
Get as many documents yourself as you can, and make sure they cover what is needed: A Social Security administrator who has been involved in this area for over 20 years states that the better documented the claim, the more likely it will be approved.
Make and keep a copy of every document you provide to Social Security, including any documents or completed forms you supply. These copies can be very important if any files are lost or if there are appeals. If keeping track of paperwork isn't your strength, see Filing for tips on where to store these files so you can find them again when you need them.
Receipts for documents: Obtain a written receipt for every document you provide to Social Security.
- Mail that you send to Social Security or DDS: Don't assume any mail will get there. Send all mail in a manner that will provide you a receipt proving it was received, such as "Return Receipt Requested."
- Watch Your Mail. Particularly during the application process, Social Security is likely to mail you requests or notices. If you miss them or delay replying, your application will be delayed and your file may even be closed.
- If you plan to be out-of-town, make sure someone is watching your mail and forwarding you anything from Social Security or Disability Determination Service (or whatever the name is of that organization in your state).
Contact with Social Security: Note in a file or diary any contact you have with Social Security, including:
- the date and time
- the name of the person with whom you meet or speak
- a summary of what happened, including who is supposed to do something next, what that person is supposed to do, and by when.
When you meet with someone at Social Security, try to make that person a friend. A friend is more likely to help. For tips, click here.
If you call for information: Call 1.800.772.1213 to determine the location of your claim file and local phone number of that office. Then call the local Social Security field office or the state office which determines medical eligibility (generally referred to as Disability Determination Service or DDS.)
False Statements: Do not make any false statement orally or in your paper work. You can, and should, state facts in a way that is most favorable to your case, but that doesn't mean to make a false statement. The law provides for criminal penalties for misrepresenting the facts or for making false statements to obtain benefits. Social Security may not go this far is you do make false statements, but is the risk worth it?