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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 thousands 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 assessment

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, blood work 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 of success.

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 your hands?

Be honest.
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 be denied.

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 complimentary consultation!

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