Tips for Obtaining Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides several types of disability benefits. These include disability insurance benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, benefits for disabled children, and disability benefits for widows or widowers. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get the benefits you or your loved one deserves, even with a severe medical condition. The application process is full of obstacles, and many claims are initially denied. The good news is that, with a little bit of research, you can increase your chances of being approved. In this article, the disability lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates share six tips for improving the odds of getting your Social Security disability benefits claim approved successfully.
Filing a Social Security Disability Claim in Pennsylvania
According to the SSA’s own disability claim statistics, only about 45% of all claims were approved during the period from 2001 to 2010. Among them, only 28% were approved on the claimant’s first attempt at qualifying. Shockingly, a mere 3% were approved at the first level of appeals (“reconsideration”), while just 13% were awarded at the second level (“hearing”). Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help tilt these odds in your favor.
Meet the SSA Disability Criteria
In order to have a chance at being approved, you need to meet some basic requirements, including the following:
- You must be at least 18 years old. (Children and teenagers can also receive benefits, but an adult must apply on their behalf.)
- You must have a medical condition serious enough to stop you from going to work.
- Your condition must be expected to last one year or longer, or to result in death.
Compile the Necessary Paperwork
You’ll need to have plenty of documentation ready in order to file a successful claim. Here are just a few examples of forms and records the SSA requires, where applicable:
- Birth and citizenship documents
- Direct deposit and bank information
- Employment records and job history
- Marriage and divorce records
- Records related to your military service
- Self-employment business records
- Your doctor’s contact information
- Your employer’s contact information
Familiarize Yourself with the Disability Application Form
As the SSA cautions, the disability benefits application is a comprehensive form that normally takes anywhere from one to two hours to complete. It’s a good idea to review the application before filling it out, which reduces the risk of accidentally leaving sections blank or misreading the instructions.
Consult With Your Doctor
When filing a disability claim in Pennsylvania, you need all the support you can get. Talk to your treating physician to ensure that he or she will make a positive recommendation on your behalf. While it’s not mandatory to get your doctor’s support or approval, it can go a long way towards persuading the SSA that you should be awarded benefits.
Obtain Copies of Your Medical Records
Your medical records will play a vital role in determining whether your claim is denied or accepted. If you are missing records, or have outdated records that don’t reflect the severity of your symptoms, you are less likely to be approved. It’s also a good idea to supply your own records, because if the SSA has to track them down for you, your claim will take longer to process.
You can get access to your medical records by asking your doctor, who will explain which steps you need to take to complete the process. It’s also wise to hold onto related records and objects that could support your claim, such as prescription slips, medications, medical devices, and the contact information for any caregivers, specialists, or therapists who treat you in addition to your primary care provider (PCP).
Contact an Experienced Disability Lawyer
An experienced disability benefits attorney, like the Bucks County disability attorneys of Young, Marr & Associates, can strengthen your claim and improve your odds of approval in a few important ways. Your attorney can:
- Fight aggressively for a different outcome if you receive a disability claim denial
- Help you to secure copies of your medical records and related documents
- Prepare you for hearings you will need to attend
- Protect your legal rights from being abused or violated
- Resolve delays or processing errors that might be slowing your claim down
- Review your claim to make sure it is free of errors, meets all requirements, and is supported by thorough, relevant, up-to-date evidence
Our Pennsylvania Disability Lawyers Can Help You File Your Claim
If you’re applying for disability benefits, you’re up against challenging odds. You need a Montgomery County disability lawyer who understands how the system works. At Young, Marr & Associates, our results speak for themselves. Our skilled, effective attorneys have a success rate of more than 80%, compared to the average industry success rate of just 62%. When you need experienced, results-oriented representation, turn to Young, Marr & Associates for legal guidance you can trust.
For a free consultation, contact our Pennsylvania disability lawyers online. Alternately, Pennsylvania residents can reach us by calling (215) 515-2954, while New Jersey residents should call (609) 557-3081.