This guest post is from the Pennsylvania injury attorney law firm of Console and Hollowell.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is an involuntary insurance program, meaning that FICA taxes are automatically taken out of your paycheck to cover disability benefits should you become injured in an accident and no longer able to work.
Since you paid into these benefits with money you earned, it seems as if you should be able to use the funds if needed. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration will make it extremely difficult for you to collect on these benefits. They will make you jump through hoops and untangle yourself from red tape in order to fight for what you deserve, and in many situations you’ll still be denied.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is very complex, and the Social Security Administration relies upon your lack of knowledge on how the system works to turn you down. After all, if you don’t know how to play the game, you can’t win. Here are three things you should do when applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
- Learn everything you can about applying for Social Security Disability, as well as the appeals process. Doing everything correctly and in the right order will reduce the chances of you being turned down. Also, if you’ve been denied benefits, don’t give up. You have the right to appeal a denial. Whatever you do, don’t fill out another SSD application. Not only will you be turned down again, you will then lose your right to appeal. Instead, file a Request for Reconsideration. If this is also denied, you have the right to request a Social Security Disability Hearing before an administrative judge. Be sure not to throw in the towel before this stage; more than half of benefits are won at this level.
- Substantiate your claim with medical records. Be sure to get copies of all your medical records, and submit them with your SSD application. Make sure your doctor supports your SSD application, and ask him or her to write a supporting statement for your case.
- Get help. If you feel you aren’t being treated fairly by the Social Security Administration, ask your congressman or senator to help you. Also, it’s a good idea to seek representation from an attorney who has experience with Social Security Disability Insurance. An attorney will help you file your claim and appeal paperwork, will ensure no deadlines are missed, and has the knowledge to properly prepare your Social Security Disability case for hearing. Hiring an attorney will substantially increase your chances of winning your SSD case.
If you become disabled and are no longer able to work, make sure that you get the SSD benefits that you deserve and need. Educate yourself on the SSD process, and get the help of someone who can navigate the complex SSD system.