Applying for Physical Disability Benefits in the United States

In order to qualify for disability benefits in the United States a person has to be medically proven to be disabled. While this sounds like an easy task, due to the variety of legalities which abound in the system and people who attempt to cheat the system, it is not as easy as it sounds.

Process to Apply for Disability

The first step that needs to be undertaken is to apply for Social Security Disability, Medicare and/or Medicaid. This can be done via hard copy or on the online. The reason to start on this as soon as possible is that this in its self can take from two to three years.

The claimant will likely be called into a local Social Security Office after filing the initial paperwork. Here the SSA will verify what you have claimed and ensure that all the information needed to actually start the claims process is available.

It is not uncommon to be refused benefits on the first attempt. This can be quite disconcerting to an applicant but it is not a lost battle and there is no need to quit just yet. A person that is denied may file for an appeal. This will mean a hearing with a judge or judges advocate and the applicant will ave a chance to present their case.

It is of utmost importance to keep meticulous record of each and every document and step. Copies of all medical reports are necessary and this should not be the original or only copy that you have in your possession.

Lawyer/Attorney for Disability

Most people opt for hiring an attorney because the stress of dealing with the system is overwhelming and many applicants stop trying after a while. A legal representative will ensue that every step is undertaken in a timely manner because they will only get paid if the case is settled in your favor.

The legal representative is allowed by law to receive no more than 25 percent of the award. A judge may be able to lower that amount if they feel that the attorney was not efficient in handling the case on behalf of the applicant.

Disability Medical Assessment

The claimant will likely be asked to submit to various tests by a doctor chosen by the SSA and this has to be completed as required. Medical assessments can be quite trying in that the doctor will be very thorough in the evaluation in order to identify fraudulent applicants. If there is truly a disability, the applicant should not fail this assessment.

It is also advisable during a trip to the doctor to ask about getting a handicap sticker for the vehicle of the disabled person. The doctor often only has to fill out a form which is then taken by the individual to the tag office and wither a handicap placard or a handicap plate is issued. It is quick and easy and may actually bolster your chances at getting an award because this is further proof that a medical professional thinks that the injury is serious enough to warrant special treatment.

Keep in mind during this process that if the injury or ailment is not serious there is a strong chance that  the disability benefits will not be awarded.

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  1. Social Security Benefits for the Visually Impaired, Blind « arch-online.org – your guide to disability rights and disability truths.

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