How to File a Social Security Disability Claim

How to File a Social Security Disability Claim

In order to file a Social Security disability claim in South Carolina, you must be able to prove that you have a disability that keeps you from earning a sufficient income and from performing daily activities on your own. Proving a disability, however, requires much more than you or your doctor simply stating that you have a disability. In order for your claim to be considered, you must provide numerous pieces of medical evidence, including exam results, treatment notes, mental health records, blood work panels, and reports of imaging studies, such as MRI, CAT scan, and x-rays.

If you are able to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with timely, accurate, and sufficient medical evidence from your current doctor and specialists, the SSA is more apt to approve your disability claim and award you Social Security Disability Insurance benefits without requesting further testing and evidence. If you are unable to provide said evidence in a timely fashion, however, you may be asked to go through additional testing or provide additional, more hard-to-come-by evidence.

At Klok Law Firm LLC, our South Carolina Social Security disability attorneys can help you put together the type of evidence the SSA requires to help you receive a faster determination on your disability claim.

Social Security Disability Benefits: Producing Timely Records

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must be able to produce recent and relevant medical records that accurately summarize your current medical condition. How recent all depends on the type of disability you are claiming. For instance, if you suffer from respiratory problems such as COPD or Asthma—conditions that do not frequently change over time—older medical records may be sufficient. However, if you suffer from a neurological disorder such as cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease—conditions that can change drastically over a period of months—producing your most recent medical records can significantly improve your chances of approval for SSDI benefits.

With that in mind, the SSA generally will not accept medical records older than six months. This does not mean, however, that you shouldn’t produce your entire available medical history. It is always best for the SSA to get a bigger picture of your condition.

Applying for SSDI Benefits: Producing Accurate Records

It is extremely important that all of your medical records are accurate, correctly describing your condition according to the standards of acceptable medical sources. These medical sources include licensed physicians, licensed psychologists, school psychologists, licensed optometrists, licensed podiatrists, and qualified speech-language pathologists. The distinction between an acceptable medical source and a non-acceptable medical source is important, as records from a non-acceptable medical source can hurt your claim.

For instance, if you file a claim for back injury, and you base your claims off of records from your chiropractor, the SSA may dismiss your claim because a chiropractor is not a recognized medical source by the SSA. However, if a licensed physician backs up your chiropractor’s findings with x-rays of your spine, then the SSA may approve your claim.

In addition to the opinion of an acceptable medical source, you must provide corroborating evidence. For instance, should your physician say one thing but your x-rays say another, your claim may be denied.

SSDI Benefits: Producing Sufficient Medical Records

Finally, it is important that your medical files contain enough information from acceptable medical sources to allow the SSA to make an accurate judgment regarding the nature and severity of your claimed disability. For instance, if you have a herniated disc that disables you from performing the duties set forth in your job description, the SSA will want to know everything from when the symptoms first appeared, to what your x-rays show, to what you are doing to treat the condition. It is not enough for your doctor to start keeping detailed records once you inform them of your decision to file for SSDI benefits; rather, the SSA wants to see that you have suffered for some time and that you sought treatment before you resorted to filing for disability benefits.

Additionally, detailed medical records should include the following notes from your doctor:

  • Mention of all of your complaints regarding your condition
  • The results of each examination
  • What treatments were given
  • How you reacted to the treatment
  • Future plans and prognosis

Unfortunately, many doctors do not think to include such detailed notes in their patients’ medical records, making it more difficult for the SSA to make accurate claim determinations.

Consult a Charleston, SC Social Security Disability Attorney

At Klok Law Firm LLC, our South Carolina disability attorneys know what type of evidence the Social Security Administration needs to make an accurate determination. We use that knowledge to help clients in the Charleston, SC and surrounding areas file successful SSDI claims and receive the help they need to live a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. If you or a loved one is disabled, and if you need financial assistance while you are in the process of rehabilitating, contact our disability lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.