Preparing Your Social Security Disability Claim

When you first go to file a Social Security disability benefits claim, you will need to provide a great deal of information to the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSA is the agency that runs the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

deniedThe first thing you will have to do is gather your medical information, including an opinion of a treating physician as to why you are disabled.  However, it should be noted that the SSA often has a very different interpretation than a medical doctor of what it means to be disabled.  As you can discuss with your experienced Boston disability attorney, the SSA uses a book that is primarily a product of the 1970s called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles or “DOT,” as Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) often say.  The problem with the DOT is that it contains a description of jobs and their requirements, even though many of these jobs do not necessarily even exist anymore.

Another thing to keep in mind that, unlike with private long-term disability insurance, you are disabled if you cannot do any job, as opposed to just not being able to do your current job.  For example, let’s say you are an aviation mechanic who makes $100,000 a year, and you suffer an injury that results in your back being severely injured.  As a result of this injury, you can no longer work on things above shoulder level.  Since working on airplanes often has you standing under them, you are no longer able to work at this job anymore. However, if the SSA determines that you are able to work at as grocery bagger at minimum wage and earn over $1020 a month, you are not disabled within the meaning of the DOT and the SSA regulations, and this where much of the problems occur at ALJ hearings.

In addition to getting your medical records together, as discussed in a recent news feature from the Tribune Star, you will also need to have a list of the dates you worked.  The reason for this is because when you work and pay taxes, some of that money is paid into the disability fund, and that is like paying a premium with a private insurance company.  The longer you work, the more quarterly credits you earn, and you need a certain number of them to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. You will also need a list of your current medications and your marital status.

If you are applying for what is known as Supplemental Security Income, you will also need to have financial information to show how much you are earning and what your total household assets and income are.  The reason for this is because unlike with SSDI, SSI is an income-based disability benefits program that is only available for those living in low-income households.  One of the best things you can do to help increase your chances of being awarded SSI or SSDI benefits it to speak with an experienced attorney.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

How to prepare for your disability interview with Social Security, September 4, 2016, By Brian Hewitt, Tribune Star

More Blog Entries:

Worker Taxed Thousands for Social Security Disability Benefits He Never Received, June 21, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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