The world of disability, Social Security, and filing for disability can be somewhat of a maze. You’re like a rat caught in it trying to find the cheese, only it’s a more complicated maze than you’ve ever been through before and you’ve had no training in it. All those disability forms, laws to know, definitions to understand, qualifying regulations to understand, and much, much more can be very frustrating. It’s no wonder that most people are denied on their first try at filing for disability! Disability, Social Security, and all that goes with applying for it is a daunting task. But when you need it, you really need it.
To make it easier for you, here are 5 FAQs you MUST know about disability, Social Security, and applying for it that will make it all much clearer for you.
1. Disability Forms are Difficult to Understand….for Almost Everyone
If you can’t understand your disability forms, don’t despair. You aren’t stupid, and you aren’t alone. Even people with Ph.D.’s often have trouble understanding disability forms. They are written with legal experts in mind, not laypeople. That is why so many people hire lawyers to help them with disability, Social Security, and other similar issues. It often takes a lawyer who has been specially trained in disability law to make sense of those disability forms!
2. Filing for Disability is Not a Quick Process
At a minimum, you’ll be waiting 3 to 4 months for a decision on your case. That is if everything goes perfectly and extremely smoothly the first time. Most cases take a lot longer than that to be approved or denied. No one ever said the world of disability, Social Security, and more was a fast-paced one. Each case has to be examined individually and lots of paperwork and verification with doctors is involved. If you’re denied on the first try, like many people are, then you have to re-apply or appeal, and that takes time, too. So don’t expect quick results. Filing for disability is a game of patience.
3. Disability, Social Security, and the Like Have Strict Qualifications You Must Meet
Before you begin filing for disability, make sure you qualify for it. There are very strict qualification requirements to this program, and if you don’t meet even a single one of them, you will be denied. It is important to know and understand the qualifications before you apply so you don’t waste your time. Be sure you meet the Social Security definition of disability and that you have enough work credits under your belt to get approved for benefits. If you don’t know, check the Social Security website or ask a disability lawyer.
4. Get Your Paperwork in on Time
You can be denied simply for not getting paperwork in on time. You can also be denied for your doctor not getting paperwork in on time. Yes, your doctor has to fill out paperwork for you, too, when you’re filing for disability. You may actually have a harder time getting your doctor to get paperwork in on time than doing your own paperwork. This is because doctors have other patients to attend to and other things to do, so you’ll need to probably call your doctor a lot to make sure he or she is keeping on top of things in a timely manner so you can maximize your chances of approval.
5. If You’re Approved, You May Get a Retroactive Check
If you are approved for disability, Social Security will give you a disability determination date. That is the date they determine that you actually became disabled. The difference in time between that date and the date you are approved for disability and begin receiving benefits is time that you should have been getting paid. Your first disability payment will be the sum of each monthly payment you should have been getting for all the months between your disability determination date and the date you are approved for benefits. For some people, it can be hundreds or thousands of dollars, or sometimes more, depending on what your monthly award is and how long it’s been between your disability determination date and the date you are approved for benefits.
So when you’re filing for disability, keep these things in mind and the process should be easier for you. Disability, Social Security, and the whole tangle of it can be difficult to navigate, but not impossible, and the more knowledge you have about the maze ahead of time, the easier it will be when you apply.