The Two To-Dos of Filing for Social Security Disability

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The Social Security Administration is faced with the largest backlog in its history. In order to give people the best chance for a successful claim, Disability Group has put together the "Two To-Dos" for applying for disability benefits.

At this moment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is faced with the largest case backlog in history, due to the struggling economy and the corresponding rise in claims, which makes it more important than ever to handle your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim with careful attention to detail, according to Disability Group, Inc., a leading national firm of SSDI attorney representation.

Because there are so many Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases that need to be reviewed by the SSA, applicants now have the opportunity to influence how quickly claims are reviewed, and increase the likelihood of claims getting approved, in two critically important steps.

“So many people make the mistake of not doing two simple things,” says Patrick Ryan, Director of Operations for Disability Group, Inc. “There are two to-dos of applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, which any firm will tell any client.”

The Two To-Dos of Applying for Social Security Disability

1. Securing Medical Records
When a disability claim is first handled, either at the initial level (when there has been no decision yet) or at the reconsideration level (after a social security disability denial), it is processed by a disability examiner at Disability Determination Services.

But the disability examiner at DDS is not always successful in obtaining all the necessary medical records. In fact, it is not unusual for disability examiners to make decisions on claims even if not all of the medical evidence is in the file. This will happen if a disability examiner simply has no success in getting the records from a particular doctor's office, clinic, or hospital.

Most of the processing time required for a decision on a social security disability or SSI case is actually due to waiting for medical records. The wait for records in most cases is very long, but DDS examiners are graded (and get raises!) according to how fast they process their work. Therefore, most cases with all the records attached tend to be the cases that get worked on immediately.

To minimize the risk of your examiner denying a claim, an applicant should collect all of their medical records and make sure they are all there. Submitting the records on their own ensures that all of the medical records are evaluated, and that the social security disability case will not sit around for months longer than necessary.

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2. Respond to ALL Social Security Disability letters and notices promptly
A social security disability case can easily run into trouble if an official notice goes unanswered, especially if it requires some type of response with time constraints. In some cases, this means the difference between a denied claim and an awarded claim.

In all instances, a claimant for benefits based on disability should respond promptly to notices sent by either the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) (the office of hearings and appeals), DDS (disability determination services), or the Social Security Field Office or District Office, where the claimant originally applied for benefits).

Surprisingly, a very large percentage of disability claimants do not respond to notices from these offices. Failure to respond causes delays and puts your social security disability claim in jeopardy. Always respond promptly to letters and notices sent by any office connected to the Social Security Administration. “It is easy to respond quickly to notifications from the OHA and the DDS when you have representation helping you through each step of your claim,” says Patrick Ryan, Director of Operations at Disability Group, Inc.

If you have questions about how to gather medical records or how to respond to an official notice, please contact Disability Group Inc. at 1-800-248-1100 for a free consultation, or visit online at

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Gilda Mehraban