Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) coverage exists to provide financial support to people who can no longer earn a full-time income based on their injury, illness, or other disabling condition. You can apply for Social Security disability benefits if a medical impairment is preventing you from working.
The Social Security disability claims process can be stressful and confusing—especially for people who have never filed for benefits. The good news is that you do not have to go through it alone. In this article, you will find an overview of three key people who can help you get an SSDI claim approved.
- Your Doctor
First and foremost, a doctor is going to play a key role in the Social Security disability claims process. If you are filing for SSDI benefits, it is imperative that you are under the care of a qualified medical professional. You should attend all follow-up appointments and keep careful records. To get an SSDI claim approved, an applicant must satisfy both medical records and legal records.
In effect, you will need medical records that establish the existence and severity of your disability. Most SSDI claims are initially processed through state-based offices known as Disability Determination Services (DDS). At these offices, an examiner will review the medical documentation that you provided along with your claim to determine if you are disabled under the law.
Your doctor is the person who is responsible for providing key medical records regarding your condition. Among other things, your doctor may need to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment that clarifies the type of work that you can (and cannot) do because of the limitations posed by your disability.
- A Family Member or SSA Representative
In some cases, a family member, an SSA representative, or another trusted party may be able to assist you with some relatively simple aspects of the application process. As explained by the Social Security Administration, the agency has a process in place to allow family members and friends to help a vulnerable loved one apply for benefits. In fact, a family member could even act as your representative for your Social Security disability claim. That being said, a family member or SSA advocate should not be relied upon if you are dealing with a complicated legal or technical issue. They can only assist you with relatively basic paperwork and other related matters.
- A Social Security Disability Attorney
If you run into any issues in the Social Security disability claim process, you should consult with an experienced SSDI attorney. Whether you are applying for SSDI benefits for the first time or your SSDI claim has already been denied, a Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. A significant number of SSDI claims are initially denied before eventually being approved. Both applicants and the agency sometimes make mistakes that can be corrected. A lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and secure the full financial benefits you are entitled to under the law.