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Understanding The Signs That You Will Be Approved For Disability

Applying for disability benefits is challenging. To get approved for these benefits, you must meet all the requirements laid out by the Social Security Administration (SSA), including suffering from a medical condition that’s expected to last for more than a year or lead to death. Although there’s no guarantee you’ll get approved, there are several […]

Applying for disability benefits is challenging. To get approved for these benefits, you must meet all the requirements laid out by the Social Security Administration (SSA), including suffering from a medical condition that’s expected to last for more than a year or lead to death.

Although there’s no guarantee you’ll get approved, there are several signs that show you’ll be eligible for disability compensation, including having evidence of your physical or mental injury, proof that you can’t work, and working with a disability attorney. Those are strong signs that your disability claim might be approved. 

I. Understanding Disability Approval Factors

Disability is a subjective term and is often determined on a case-by-case basis. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) defines having a disability as:

  • Record of disability: A person having a history of impairments;
  • Actual disability: A person with mental or physical impairment that significantly limits major life activities; and 
  • Regarded as disabled: A person who has these impairments.

Physical disability may include but isn’t limited to visual disability, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injury, or hearing impairments. Similarly, mental disability includes but is not limited to difficulties with learning, mental illness, and developmental disabilities. For the sake of the above definition, major life activities include performing mundane tasks like hearing, walking, eating, bending, seeing, or speaking.

While every case is different, you’re more likely to get your disability application approved and receive social security benefits if:

  • You have sufficient medical evidence documenting your disability. Having substantial medical evidence is crucial in getting approved for disability payments. To strengthen your disability claim and increase your approval odds, you must submit comprehensive medical reports and records. That includes:
    • Diagnostic reports
    • Your medical history
    • CT scans and X-rays
    • Prescription documents
    • And description of treatments.

Also, each medical record and report must be accompanied by signed documents from your doctors confirming the authenticity of every diagnostic test.

By submitting the required medical documentation, you can showcase the severity of your health condition and how it affects your ability to work. This will also provide the SSA with the necessary information to assess your eligibility for disability benefits.

  • Consistency With the SSA’s Blue Book Listings. The SSA refers to the Blue Book, which summarizes specific conditions and their corresponding requirements. If your disability aligns with the criteria outlined in the Blue Book, you have higher odds of getting approved for disability benefits. Some of the major categories in the Blue Book include:
    • Respiratory disorders
    • Musculoskeletal disorders
    • Skin disorders
    • Cardiovascular conditions
    • Mental conditions
    • Cancer

The Blue Book is the official medical documentation the SSA uses to evaluate an applicant’s eligibility for disability compensation. Providing medical evidence and documentation that proves your disability is consistent with the listings can substantially boost your odds of a positive outcome.

II. Major Signs You Are Likely To Be Approved For Disability

While the decision largely depends on the SSA, certain signs might suggest higher chances of approval for disability benefits. These signs include:

A. In-Depth Medical Documentation

Substantial medical documentation is one of the most crucial factors in an SSDI benefits claim because it serves as the foundation for determining how disabled a person is. If your medical documentation doesn’t prove your disability, your claim will likely be rejected.

This step of the application process is where hiring a disability lawyer proves vital. They’re familiar with the medical evidence the SSA will want and can guide you on what to request from your doctors and many may offer a free consultation to look at your case before being hired. Although it might seem reasonable to submit all of your medical documents, sending only the most relevant documents is beneficial to move your claim forward.

B. Meet Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability

Thoroughly reviewing the eligibility criteria for Social Security Disability and establishing that you meet the necessary requirements is a positive sign that your claim might be approved. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a disabling condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability.

The Social Security Administration considers these factors when establishing if you have a qualifying health condition:

  • Your disability hinders you from engaging or working in an SGA (substantial gainful activity)
  • Your disability hinders you from doing your previous job or adapting to complete new tasks
  • You will or have had the condition for at least one year or may die from the condition.

C. Consistent Doctor Visits

It’s essential to see your doctor regularly about your health condition. Before applying for disability benefits, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. Discuss your claim with them. Ask for medical records in support of your claim. This should include laboratory test results. Also, you should ask your doctor for a written statement about your medical condition and ability to work. Continue visiting your doctor regularly. That can offer a documented timeline of your physical and mental condition. 

Your doctor might know about residual functional capacity assessments. Ask them to fill one out for you so you can include it in your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application. Remember that even though your doctor says you’re disabled, you don’t automatically qualify for SSDI benefits. The SSA might ask for a consultative medical examination with an independent medical professional after you apply. 

D. Following Prescribed Treatment

Visiting your doctor consistently is one thing. They can diagnose your medical condition and provide their professional opinion on your ability to work. However, if you don’t follow their treatment plan, it shows the SSA you don’t care. The SSA may conclude that your symptoms may improve if you stick to your treatment. Seeking medical treatment and sticking with it can strengthen your claim. It shows you’re doing everything you can to recover and get better.

This includes sticking to prescribed treatment. Based on your condition, it might also involve physical therapy. Your doctors may also prescribe lifestyle and diet changes.

E. Age and Work History

Your eligibility for SSDI benefits may increase as you age. Age is a vital factor the SSA considers when determining your eligibility for compensation and your ability to work. The SSA recognizes that as one age, they’re “less trainable” and have difficulties learning new skills or adapting to new work environments. This is particularly true for persons 50 years or older, making your SSDI claim stronger if you’re older.

Further, SSDI benefits are only available for sick and injured employees with employment history. You can’t receive disability compensation if you never paid Social Security taxes or worked.

The longer you worked, the more you paid into the taxes. You can even earn Social Security credits while you’re still employed. The Social Security Administration considers these credits to establish your eligibility. Your disability benefits will largely depend on your income for a whole year. 

The SSA looks at your employment history and the date your disability began. They’ll then use that information and the number of credits you’ve accumulated to determine if you’re eligible for disability benefits.

III. The Role Of A Disability Lawyer

Since applying for disability benefits can be daunting, your chances of receiving payments improve significantly if you hire a disability attorney. You need someone with expertise by your side to guide you through the complicated application process, and if possible, expedite the determination services. Your disability lawyer knows the procedures and laws to follow while applying for SSDI benefits.

They can also help you fill out the application and file it with the SSA. In addition, they can help you gather all the relevant medical evidence to prove your condition hampers your ability to work. 

Those who don’t work with a disability lawyer tend to make errors and get denial letters after filing their disability claims. When you work with a disability lawyer, you have much better odds of completing the forms correctly and submitting the evidence the SSA requires to approve a disability claim.

The approval rate for SSDI benefits is 41%. However, hiring a disability attorney can significantly boost this rate to 55%. That leap in approval rates is mainly because of a disability attorney’s expertise. They know the ins and outs of the SSDI program and how to present a compelling case for you. Thus, when navigating the disability benefits application process, an SSDI lawyer is your best ally. 

IV. What Happens If Your Disability Claim is Denied?

If the SSA denied you disability benefits, you aren’t alone. Data shows that only 38% of claims get approved. That means the SSA denies 62% of disability claims. 

However, it’s crucial to understand that if your claim was denied, that doesn’t mean you don’t qualify to receive disability benefits. There are many steps you can and should take to fight the rejection of your request for disability benefits if you’re really disabled. Here are four crucial steps to take to get the disability benefits you deserve:

A. The Reconsideration Process

If the SSA denies your claim, you’ll receive a letter informing you of the reasons for their decision. You can request a reconsideration for medical and non-medical reasons and have the SSA review your entire file. You need to request a reconsideration within 60 days of receiving a denial letter. A Disability Determination Services rep not involved in determining your initial application will review your claim and make a decision. Although some claims get resolved through the reconsideration process, it’s rare.

B. The Appeal Hearing

If your claim is rejected after you request a reconsideration, you can appeal and request a hearing with an ALJ (administrative law judge). The hearing will occur over the phone, in person, or via a video conference. 

During this court proceeding, the administrative law judge will review your medical evidence and might question witnesses, like vocational experts or medical professionals. You have two months after receiving the reconsideration decision to file for an appeal hearing. Having a disability attorney at your appeal hearing can benefit your claim for disability benefits. 

A disability attorney will have extensive experience dealing with similar cases and can guide you through the complicated appeal process, increasing your chances of getting approved during the appeal hearing.

C. Appeals Court Review

You can also request that the Appeal Council reevaluate the ALJ’s decision. But, the council can only allow a review if they find a Social Security regulation or law issue. The Appeals Council can either refer your claim back to the ALJ or make a decision. Again, you have two months from receiving notice of the ALJ decision to file for reevaluation.

D. Federal Court

If all other options have failed, you can file a lawsuit in the United States District Court. Again, you must file your lawsuit within two months of receiving notice of the Appeals Council’s hearing decision.

Conclusion: Signs You’ll Be Approved for Disability Benefits

The approval of an SSDI claim can bring much-needed economic support and stability to those who can’t work because of a medical condition. Although each claim is evaluated individually, certain signs indicate higher approval odds.

To increase your chances of approval, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and provide comprehensive medical evidence supporting your disability claim. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced Disability lawyer can also help you navigate the complexities of the application process. Visit Benefits.com and take our quiz today to get the help you need with Social Security Disability benefits.

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