How Can I Cut The Wait From Social Security
"What can I do to get a decision from Social Security more quickly?"
That was the question from a former client who is just about to start his application. Most of my Social Security folks have been denied already, and their claim is on appeal, but I was able to give some options. Here they are:
1. If You Can, Gather Up Your Medical Information
I am not just talking about the records, but when you apply either in person or on line, the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your doctors and other health care providers. Have a medication list ready too. The Social Security Administration provides a checklist to help you gather relevant information. Go to www.ssa.gov, click on the icon that invites you to apply for disability.
Also, if you can get the chart notes yourself, that will save time. Otherwise, the disability analyst, who has stacks of claims to review, has to send out the request, maybe wait for an invoice for copying fees, pay it, and then receive the records. Your health care provider may provide the records without charge.
Did you have an on the job injury, or a claim for injury. If so, there is probably an attorney file or claims file out there. I have clients put my name down as a source for medical records, and we are happy to fax that in.
Finally, are you seeing the doctor regularly. Update those records, and send them in.
2. Be Polite, But Persistent
Check with your claims analyst regularly. Every day calls are probably a bit much, but checking in once every few weeks cannot hurt. You may actually be able to help with the information gathering process.
3. Fill Out Those Disability Reports
I know from my own experience that if you do not send the disability report in with your appeals, the Local Branch Office will hold up forwarding the appeal. With an initial application, any questionnaires should be completed returned promptly.
If Social Security asks for a friend or relative to fill out a similar form, be sure it is someone who has a good idea of the challenges you face day to day, and can explain those observations.
4. Your Physician
Some doctors are happy to help with providing information, others not so much. If your doctor states a willingness to support the claim, or even recommends the application, see if the doctor will fill out a questionnaire about your physical and/or mental limitations in a work setting. Social Security will not accept a blanket statement from your doctor that you are disabled, that is for Social Security to decide. However, if your doctor can comment on how much you would be limited with lifting, walking, standing, bending, and doing other work activities, that helps. Also, see if your doctor can estimate how much work you would miss, even working within your limitations.