If you become disabled and have Social Security eligible earnings, you may be able to collect benefits with a qualified disability. For the disability to be considered “eligible,” it must be life threatening or be expected to keep you out of work for a period of at least one year. Because the process can be complicated and first time applicants are often declined, hiring an expert, such as a Social Security disability attorney, is recommended.
Like other specialty attorneys, a Social Security disability attorney has trained to become an expert in his or her field. Unlike general practice attorneys, these lawyers take cases specifically in this niche of the law. Their experience is a major benefit to their clients because they are able to evaluate the case for its possible success as well as aid in preparing and submitting all documentation needed to the Social Security Administration.
There are numerous ways to file for disability benefits:
- In person
- Over the phone
You can also choose to have the application filled out by proxy, but additional forms will need to be filled out. In order to do this, you will need to fill out an Appointment of Representative form. Your disability attorney can help you with this process.
Information Needed to Apply for Social Security Disability
Whether using an attorney or filing on your own, you will need specific information/documentation to either supply to the attorney or have handy during the application process. This information/documentation is:
- Your general information
- Health care provider information
- Treatment details
- Employment details
- Most recent federal tax return (including W-2)
If you are unsure how to obtain some of this information, your Social Security disability lawyer is more than capable of helping you obtain everything you need for the application.
If the documents provided are not original documents, the copies must be certified. If you are not applying in person, the documentation can be mailed to the local Social Security Administration office and copies will be made there and the originals will be mailed back to you. In addition to these forms, you will also need to sign off on a medical release form so the administration is able to obtain any additional information it will need to make its decision.
While hiring a Social Security disability expert increases your chances of approval, you should know that almost two thirds of all applications are initially declined. However, this is far from the end of the road. If the application is declined upon first submission, you will have many opportunities to appeal the decision. If you have not secured the services of a local disability attorney at that point, it is a necessity to have one on your side during the appeals process.