Social Security Disability Determination

May 11, 2016 — by Sean Lohman
Tags: Social Security Disability

The Social Security Disability application and appeals process can be very drawn out.  Currently, we are told it is taking between 12 and 18 months for Social Security Disability hearing dates  in Louisville, Kentucky, to be assigned.  The Lohman Law Offices routinely sees individuals who applied for benefits and have been denied simply because they did not provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the necessary medical evidence when their application was initially filed.  Providing the SSA with the necessary medical proof to support the applicant's claim at the time the application is filed can expedite the claims process.  Our team can help make sure the necessary medical records are being filed to support an application for disability benefits. 

While the process seems very confusing at times, the basics of determining whether a person qualifies for disability benefits is pretty simple.  The SSA uses a five-step process to make the decision.

1.  Is the applicant working?

2.  Is a condition "severe"?  A condition must be severe enough to interfere with work-related activities.

3.  Is the condition on the list of disabling conditions?  The SSA maintains a list of conditions that automatically qualifies an applicant as disabled.  If a condition doesn't meet the "listing" requirements, the SSA moves on to Step 4.

4.  Can the claimant do work he/she previously performed?  If the applicant's condition is severe enough that they cannot do work that they did previously, they may be approved for disability benefits if they cannot do any other type of work.

5.  Can he or she do any other type of work?  The SSA will determine if the severity of a condition prohibits an applicant from working in a different role.  Age, education, skills and past experiences are all considered.

It is very important to gather the evidence necessary to support a claim for disability, and which answers the above questions, before submitting an application for benefits.  This means that an individual should request his or her records from all medical providers before completing the initial application for benefits and submit them with the application.  Also, while the claim is pending, medical records should be regularly supplemented so that the SSA knows that the applicant is still treating and the current status of the condition claimed.  The SSA will request medical records from providers that the applicant lists on the initial application, but relying upon the provider to submit the records in a timely manner is very risky.  Also, many large providers in Louisville, Kentucky, can take more than 30 days to respond to records requests.  Therefore, if the applicant requests the records and submits them for the SSA's consideration, it can be very helpful to the claim.   Making sure to support the application with the necessary medical records can help expedite a claim for disability and help an application for benefits to be approved.  

Our job, as a Louisville, Kentucky, Social Security law firm, is to make sure that every claim that we handle is ready to be presented to a Judge when we get to the hearing, and that our clients have the best chance of success before the SSA during the hearing process.  Contact our team to see how we can help you.