If an illness, injury or mental health condition prevents you from continuing to work, you may be eligible for medical coverage and monthly payments through the Social Security Disability Insurance program or the Supplemental Security Income program.
However, the Social Security Administration sets a high bar when evaluating each applicant; only about 35% of individuals receive approval when first applying for benefits. When preparing your application, it is important to make a strong case that your condition is both debilitating and ongoing.
1. Provide full medical documentation
Providing the SSA with a complete picture of your medical record is essential. In addition to listing all healthcare providers you have visited, make sure to include detailed information about:
- Exams, diagnoses and prognoses
- Surgeries, prescriptions, physical therapy sessions and other treatments
- Emergency room visits
- Other conditions that contribute to your disability
2. Continue to receive regular medical care
Continue under regular medical care while you apply for SSDI/SSI benefits. Doing so is important for proving the extent and duration of your disability. Let your doctor know that your condition keeps you from working, be specific about all the symptoms you experience and keep him or her informed about any changes.
3. Know that you have the right to appeal
If the SSA denies your claim, you have a limited time to request reconsideration of your application. In some cases, providing additional information may be enough to satisfy a reviewer.
If reconsideration is unsuccessful, you can also appeal for a hearing before an administrative law judge, allowing you to present new information that may further support your case.