Tips for Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Chattanooga
Legal Counsel from a Social Security Disability Attorney
It's no secret that the Social Security system is overwhelmed, particularly
in the departments that evaluate Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI) claims. Over 2.5 million applications are processed on a yearly
basis. They simply do not have time to review applications that are poorly
or incorrectly prepared.
At Jackson Law Firm, PLLC, we are exclusively focused on assisting individuals
garner their deserved SSDI benefits. Our experienced
Chattanooga Social Security Disability lawyer has personally handled hundreds of cases. While no guarantee can ever
be made when it comes to any government decision, the following are some
helpful tips we have found to be valuable for clients.
Make sure you fit the basic requirements.
In order to be granted SSDI benefits, you must meet the following prerequisites:
- You have a severe physical or mental disability
- Your impairment has lasted for longer than 12 months and is expected to
continue or result in death
- Your condition limits your daily activities, including preventing you working
- You can prove your condition with medical documentation and a doctor's
Do not include irrelevant factors in your application.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) only considers if you are physically
and mentally capable of obtaining suitable employment. That's it.
They don't care if you
feel no one will hire you with your condition or if you
think you will be unable to pass an employment physical. The state of the job
market in your area of residence or whether you can only find work that
will not meet your financial needs is irrelevant to the SSA.
Include your documentation.
With the SSA, you can never provide them with too much information. Gather
all the medical evidence you can, including physician notes, mental health
records, bloodwork results, and MRI, CAT scan, and X-ray reports. Document
every medical visit, test, prescription, and therapy received. Make a
list of every doctor you see and every medicine you take. Keep a daily
journal to record your pain and any events hindered by your disability.
Make sure your medical records are timely enough to be relevant to your
condition. They must be accurate, complete, and according to the standards
of SSA acceptable medical sources. Double check to make sure your doctor's
notes are legible and thorough. Generally, the SSA assumes if your disability
is significant enough to prevent you from working, you should have sufficient
medical evidence to prove your claim.
Follow doctor's orders.
The SSA presumes you want to get better. Failure to follow a physician's
prescribed course of treatment can cause your application to be quickly
denied. Unfortunately, the inability to pay for or belonging to a religious
organization that does not believe in medical care are not viable reason's
to reject treatment in the eyes of the SSA. If you do not believe a treatment
will help your condition, make sure to have your doctor document its odds
Detail your symptoms.
You are not a medical expert, and the SSA understands this. However, you
are an expert on your symptoms and how they affect your daily living. Explain
all your symptoms without exaggeration or minimization. No symptom is too
minor to be considered. Questions to consider when documenting your symptoms include:
- How severe is your pain? What lessens or aggravates it? Is it constant
or does it come and go?
- Do you have any fatigue or shortness of breath? Is it continual?
- What is the impact your disability has on your personal hygiene, dressing,
driving, shopping, and housework? Does it interfere with your ability
to interact with family, friends, or participate in sports?
List your restrictions.
SSA considers disability to be impairment, so provide a list of your limitation.
Can you stand or walk? Are you able to bend, twist, kneel, or sit for
long periods of time? Does your disability prevent you from getting a
good night's sleep? Do you have trouble grasping or otherwise using
The SSA is actively looking for evidence of fraud or anything else that
might damage your credibility. Don't contradict yourself. Even simple
mistakes or lapses in memory may cause them to question your application.
Cooperate with your claim examiner.
Release any and all medical records requested by your claim examiner.
If you are required to be examined by a SSA, don't miss the appointment.
If you fail to cooperate with your examiner, your claim will most likely
Make yourself available.
If your claim examiner is not able to connect with you in a timely manner,
it can cause them to reject your application. Obtaining the services of
a skilled SSDI attorney who can serve as your representative can ensure
your examiner is able to communicate with you about critical matters that
apply to your claim.
If you are denied, quickly appeal!
Unfortunately, even a pristine and thoroughly completed application won't
guarantee a granting of SSDI benefits. If you are denied, don't give
up! More than 60% of the claims that are reviewed by a Tennessee administrative
law judge (ALJ) are granted. Request your appeal as soon as possible as
there is a 60-day time limit. If you wait too long, you will be required
to begin the process all over again.
Need more information? Contact our SSDI attorney today!
We understand applying for SSDI benefits may seem like a daunting task,
but we are here to help! If you are concerned if you meet the qualifications
for SSDI benefits, our insightful Chattanooga Social Security Disability
attorney can evaluate your situation free of charge.
Jackson Law Firm, PLLC offers the personalized attention and assertive
representation you need and deserve through every stage of an SSDI process.
We operate on a contingency basis, which means you will not owe us a dime
unless you are granted benefits.
Contact our firm today
to schedule a