The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC Nov. 13, 2018

Many Americans living in California apply for Social Security disability when they become unable to work. There are several stages of the application process. Most applications are approved after a hearing with an administrative law judge, but some are approved right away without a hearing.

Approximately 30 percent of disability applicants are approved after their initial application without proceeding to a hearing. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of applicants who are initially denied for benefits are approved during the reconsideration stage.

There are several things an applicant can do to improve their chances of having their claim approved during the initial stages. Claimants should seek out treatment on their own rather than relying on the Administration to send them to a consultation appointment. Consultations are done when an applicant has not been seen by a doctor in over three months.

A statement from a treating physician detailing an applicant's diagnosis, prognosis and treatment may be submitted. This is also called a medical source form and can be as simple as a letter. Hearing examiners tend to place a lot of weight on the opinions of a claimant's primary care physician.

Applicants should also list their past work history as thoroughly as possible. It is important to list the particular demands of each prior job.

An attorney with experience handling Social Security disability claims may be able to help applicants improve their odds of being approved. An attorney may be able to help by making sure that all paperwork is in order, requesting letters from treating physicians, ensuring that all appeal paperwork is submitted on time and representing the claimant at an administrative hearing.

Hiring an attorney may help claimants improve their odds of being approved during the initial stages of the claims process. An attorney might be able to assist applicants who are unsure about how to thoroughly list details about their condition and work history.

Related Posts: Relocation and disability applications, Rules for filing a disability claim with Social Security, The nature of work performed is a disability factor, SSD benefits may not be permanent

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