Applying for Social Security and SSI benefits is known to be a complex process. In fact, only 3 out of every 10 applicants are approved when first applying and there is no guarantee that your claim will be accepted when you request an appeal. The average time to await a decision is 3 to 5 months. However, there is no specific deadline for a decision, and there are cases that can take more than a year for a final determination. Due to the compound process, it is very wise to provide as much documentation and do whatever you can to increase the chances of having your claim approved as fast as possible.
What You Will Need to Apply for Social Security and SSI Benefits
If you are just starting the application process for Social Security and SSI benefits, it will greatly help your case if you provide detailed medical documentation and work history so that the disability examiner has supporting data that will prove your inability to work. Especially if you could provide your complete history of treatment and contact information for any current and previous doctors, who have treated you.
Make sure you provide up-to-date contact information and include your physician’s name, address, phone number, and if possible, you should also include the name of the proper person to speak to. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you will want to make sure to include all of the treating facility’s contact information as well. The Social Security examiners will use their own database if you don’t have the information available. However, their information system does not include all medical facilities, so it’s best that you save them the step and provide it when you apply. Being thorough in the information you provide will help move your case along smoother. The goal is to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases, and that usually means getting your doctors to write letters for you too.
How a Letter from Your Doctor(s) Can Help You When Applying for Social Security and SSI Benefits
Getting written statements from any and all doctors who have and continue to treat your condition will strengthen your case immensely. Although they are probably experienced in assisting patients with documentation for claims, make sure their statements are not brief and vague. They should provide as much detail as possible that can support your claim and prove your inability to work. If your preliminary application is denied and you request a hearing, the opinion of your doctor can play a crucial role in determining whether you will win or lose your case. When more than one physician is reinforcing your inability to work in writing, it improves your chances of being approved. That means that the more, the merrier when it comes to gathering letters from your doctor(s) while trying to be awarded Social Security and SSI benefits.