Social Security Disability Benefits Approval the First Time

It is true that the majority of social security disability applications are denied following the initial application. Last year more than three million people applied for social security disability benefits and that number is expected to rise each year.

A social security disability claimant recently posted a helpful comment discussing his success in obtaining social security disability benefits approval following his initial application.

As disability attorneys we agree that all of the actions taken by this claimant are a good strategy.

I was so sure my SSDI claim would be denied on the 1st application – but it was approved immediately!

What I did that I believe was helpful:

  1. 1My initial disability claim was through my primary doctor, but I had seen several specialists in the 2-3 years before I became totally disabled and their reports and tests they ordered supported the severity of my diagnoses. The most recent one was within 3 months of my claim.
  2. 2) Before I filed, I made a list of every doctor visit, lab test, other tests (X-Ray, MRI etc.), and surgery – what they were for, who ordered them, and what the outcome/findings were. I put the list in order by dates, and had every doctor’s full name, address, phone and FAX numbers.
  3. 3) I made a list of every physical problem I have, and wrote down when it started and how it affected my being able to do, or not do, everyday activities as well as work activities.
  4. 4) I also made a list of all of my previous employers, with names, addresses, phone and FAX numbers, dates I worked, and what kind of work I did, especially including physical requirements of the day-to-day work.
  5. 5) I made a list of the relatives and friends who could verify my history and physical condition, with names, addresses, and phone numbers (ones who were willing, and reasonably good at talking to people).
  6. 6) I wrote down all of my physical problems AND all of the things I have trouble doing physically as well as subjective problems like pain, and took it with me to my primary doctor, and asked her to go over it with me before she filled out my claim form, so I could be sure nothing got left out.
  7. 7) I filled out the form on-line, but requested my interview in person (the claim form was not too tough, because I had already organized everything!). I printed a copy for myself for my records.
  8. 8) When I went to my interview, I took all the stuff they requested (SS card, drivers’ license, etc.) AND all of my medical records so the interviewer could make a copy. The interviewer was so thrilled!!! He said it made it really easy for them to review, and it all went through in just 2 1/2 months! Just in time for the 5 month waiting period to be over so I could get my 1st check! I was stunned and amazed, but really happy!The interviewer told me he hardly ever had anybody apply that had everything already done and organized, and I think it made a huge difference, especially having ALL of the medical stuff so they didn’t have to try and get ahold of doctors’ offices and records for the review, which can apparently be unbelievably time-consuming. So it also meant that my case could all be reviewed by 1 medical examiner, which probably helped, too.

    It took a lot of time and energy to put all that stuff together, especially getting all of the medical records, test copies, X-Rays, etc., plus putting it in order, but if you could have seen how happy the interviewer was like I did, you can see that it makes a difference if you make it easier for them – I guess they’re only human too.

One other thing: the medical examiners want the doctor reports and results to give them an idea of how limited you are physically in your daily activities like sitting, standing, walking, bending, eating, etc., – and verify your claim (which most doctor reports don’t, really – they talk about your diagnosis, but not always exactly how it affects you) – so if you can call, write, or see your doctor(s) to “remind” them that you want that info included in any reports they make to SS, it will really help. For example, after 8 months, does your orthopedic surgeon even KNOW how tired it makes you to try to walk a block? Maybe he knows you can DO it, but he needs to know (and include in his report) that you CAN’T do it comfortably, i.e. normally.

So go see him, (or write, or call) and tell him you’re filing for SS and you’d like him to be aware of it. My primary doctor had forgotten several things, because I’d seen a specialist about them, not her – she had their reports in my chart, but it had been over a year, and she wouldn’t have remembered except that I went to see her with my list.

And I’m sure the SS medical claim examiner would figure that if your primary doctor didn’t mention it up front, it probably isn’t very significant… right? Plus, my insurance company approved my long-term disability as well, after I sent them the SS approval letter (NOT that that’s a guarantee, but it helps).

So, that’s my experience – hope it helps somebody else.

Good luck!

Starr Ward

If your social security disability claim or disability insurance claim has been denied, it is important to contact a disability attorney and discuss your rights.

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I was approved for LTD benefits through my group insurance carrier, but to later have my LTD benefits terminated by them as well. I felt totally defeated and devastated. My case at times, with the going back-and-forth with the insurance company was challenging to say the least, intimidating, extremely exhausting to the point there were many times I wanted to give up. My family and I determined that I needed an attorney who understood the complexity of my case, my medical condition and the various LTD and ERISA rights/laws. My family and I reached out to Dell & Schaefer to help assist me with my case, I spoke with Attorneys Dell & Schaefer about my case for an hour, they were very compassionate towards my family and I. My Attorney handled my case with the insurance company with a relentless and dogged determination. He thoroughly walked me through and explained the legal process and my options at each stage.

My attorney worked very hard on my case throughout the entire process, he took time to research and clearly understand my condition and reassure me and believed we had a chance to win my case from the start. If there were any potential roadblocks he notified me immediately. He kept my family and I up-to-date about my case, he called often to reassure me and/or check on how I was doing and to answer any questions I may have had. He was very prompt in returning calls and emails and sharing all correspondence with me from the insurance company from start-to-resolution.

My attorney’s professionalism, research and attention to detail was greatly appreciated. His perseverance and diligence was impressive. In addition, Vanessa Arriaga, was very thorough, reliable and driven to help me in every way possible. Ms. Arriaga provided outstanding dedication to my case, she provided me with prompt information in a timely manner, explained new information to me if my attorney wasn’t available, as well as if I called with additional information or questions she was patient, knowledgeable and provided personal attention and compassion.

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