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08/15/2008 12:25 AM

SSadministration is not your enemy!

callme2crazy
callme2crazy  
Posts: 288
Member

I just stumbled across this new group, great idea, and I have considerable experience in this, both personal and as an advocate for others.

First: The SSA is not in the business of denying claims. They want to help you, its what they do.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people filing disability claims, having no experience and being ill on top of that, don't give a complete medical history with their original application. This is the number one error applicants make when filing.

Once you file an incomplete application you set into motion the "system" put into place to literally wade through the piles of incomplete paperwork the SSA is inundated with daily. From here you will likely end up in a hearing somewhere in the future. And remember, there are millions of illegitimate claims mixed in with the real thing.

Just so you know, I don't work for SSA or know anyone who does. I did attend a workshop for case workers with mental health clients where the SSA spoke about the process and how to assist clients with their cases. But I had already applied and won my own disability case, the first time, three years prior. And since then I have advocated for several mental health clients as a volunteer.

I have only know one other person who won their disability with their original application. If YOU want to win your case, or help someone else, then document everything. When I did my medical history I gave names and addresses for every doctor I had seen as an adult with approximate treatment dates. I was sick, I couldn't concentrate, my spouse abandoned me, and I didn't finish the ap in record time, it took months, but I went through phone books and located addresses and phone numbers and gradually built my records from nothing. If you give a complete history with the first application, you give the SSA the tools they need to do their job. And you avoid being "dumped" into the "system".

Stay tuned I think this will be better in installments!

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08/15/2008 04:29 PM
callme2crazy
callme2crazy  
Posts: 288
Member

In addition to having a complete medical history, this also includes hospitalizations, you will need to notify all your current doctors that you are applying for disability so when they are contacted by SSA they are aware and ready to support your claim. Any doctor contacted for medical records will have to produce them and if you have a history and diagnosis that is all that is generally required. It is a good idea to verify your record of diagnosis as well.

As I said above it is hard to compile all medical records and you may want to have a friend or family member assist you. Verifying dates of service may require some phone calls to providers, you want to dates as accurate as possible.

From this point forward I highly recommend that everyone keep a copy of your ap and a current listing of all medical providers which you will update each time you have something new to add. You will find this to be very handy in the future.

Once you have won your claim, SSA will send periodic requests for information including update health records.

If you have minor children you will also be able to collect small checks for them as well, to be used for their needs at your discretion. Even if your children live with an ex spouse they should be eligible and you will still be the payee on their behalf.

Ok, if you have filed and been denied then the SSA will notify you of any information they need from you. However it is to your benefit to see someone at SSA in person at this point. Waiting for them to respond to you is hardly to your advantage at this stage. You can also contact them by phone. Be prepared to wait because the offices are generally packed with people, bring a good book to read. I must say the offices are very efficient at moving the lines along so you won't necessarily wait long. You want to know what supporting documents the SSA needs and if any medical records were not received by them. During this time you will need to update the SSA with any new medical changes such as doctor changes, hospitalizations and trips to the ER as well as med changes.

When you provide all this detailed information and continually follow up you give a positive impression and your claim is significantly more likely to move through the process. From the time I applied to the time I received my first check took under five months.

Stay tuned...


08/15/2008 06:46 PM
callme2crazy
callme2crazy  
Posts: 288
Member

If you've been denied benefits you are likely thinking about hiring an attorney. They work on the contingency that you will get you benefits and they get a healthy portion of your back pay. Most states limit the amount, I'll look into that and let you know.

The only thing attorneys are going to do is collect a complete medical history and you are going to have to supply them with all that information. Bottom line, its better to get that done yourself, for yourself. Next, an attorney will represent you in an SSA hearing where there will be a judge, but this is not regular judicial court. It is a part of the SSA.

Many people think hiring an attorney improves their chances of winning a claim and they think, mistakenly, that it will be easier to let them do the work. Attorneys prey on disabled people, in my opinion, with compassionate advertising and claims of success when in fact all they do is have an assistant compile your medical history and spend about 30 minutes with you in one hearing.

Remember, the SSA does not want to refuse a legitimate claim for benefits, they just need all the facts. Think of the process as a checklist, SSA goes through the list and if anything is missing you get dumped into the system. From there they have another checklist, probably more strict, and it seems as if you are in an endless system of rejection.

You can hire an attorney if you like but I don't recommend it. You will end up doing most of the work anyway and they won't go to court until the get it all together. If you are seriously ill and cannot manage any of this then an attorney may be the right choice for you.

More to come...


08/16/2008 02:24 PM
fibroforever
fibroforever  
Posts: 4150
VIP Member

Dee- Thanks for all the good information! I know it is greatly appreciated at this site. Smile

I had to go with an attorney. My family/friends don't have time to help me with this. My attorney is wonderful. The only work I've really done is to let them know when I've had an appointment and when the next scheduled one is. Her and her legal assistant have done all the leg-work and have done a great job of keeping me informed. -- Unfortunately, not all attorney's are as helpful.

I'm scheduled for a hearing in a couple of months. Extremely anxious and nervous about this. But it will soon be all over with.

Thanks again for the information. If you have more, please continue to share it.


08/16/2008 05:48 PM
mamanordy

Thanks for all the great info. Unfortunately, I have done every single thing you mentioned, and I have been denied twice, and will be seeing a judge in 1-2 YEARS. It is awful (see my profile for all that is wrong with me). I think it is a disgrace how we are denied, esp when I had several drs write a letter stating, hey this lady cannot work!

08/17/2008 09:47 AM
callme2crazy
callme2crazy  
Posts: 288
Member

Well this thread has turned into a book and I have decided to publish this as an article instead of using this forum. If I can answer any questions for just send a PM to me.

08/22/2008 10:13 PM
wldfowlr
Posts: 9
New Member

I COMPLETELY agree....SSA is not your enemy....I to could turn this into a book also, so I will keep this reply short....Go into this as if your LIFE truly depended on it...collect everything....I used to be a police officer...the only thing I know to be fact is this...sometimes the smallest of details carry the greatest weight, and have the greatest bearing on the outcome of any given event....it is especially true in this situation...it is not enough to prove you are sick...you HAVE to prove you can't work because of the illness.

I filed on 28MAR2008, and recieved my backpay today...I never waited for them to ask for anything....my doctors (7 of them) never sent anything that I had not already given DDS....

Last thing...READ your med records...If you disagree with it, or feel the notes are too vague, write a seperate letter describing YOUR version.

I have seen 100's of post at other sites...This is the FIRST one I have seen that focuses on the fact that SSA is there to help you...BUT, the burden of proof is on you....do not forget that.

Best to all....


08/23/2008 04:40 PM
fibroforever
fibroforever  
Posts: 4150
VIP Member

I have a couple of medical notes that I disagree with. When writing, and explaining... do I then direct these my attorney to pass on?

I'm happy for you, that you received a favorable decision so quickly.


08/23/2008 08:27 PM
wldfowlr
Posts: 9
New Member

fibroforever wrote:

I have a couple of medical notes that I disagree with. When writing, and explaining... do I then direct these my attorney to pass on?

I'm happy for you, that you received a favorable decision so quickly.

Most attorneys come unglued when you do something without there approval...I would assume that your attorney would want to see it, before it goes to DDS/SSA...Now, with that said, they work FOR YOU...So stay on top of what they are doing, or not doing....

Has your case gone past the intial phase?....If so, you are in a different situation than I was...I am not sure if it would do you anygood, as the judge probably won't look at your file 'til the day of the trial....If that is the case, impress upon your attorney any discrepancies you see in your medical records, so they can better prepare for court...

Hope that helps a little...


08/24/2008 07:35 AM
fibroforever
fibroforever  
Posts: 4150
VIP Member

Filed initially a 'long' time ago. Been denied my two times. I am having a hearing in October. My attorney is aware of the things that are/have been going on. She is great. She's not recommended any documentation for the differences. They aren't major differences anyway. Mostly like- the note(s) would state that they checked my heart, lungs, etc. - when the doc didn't even put me on the table, and only talked with me. One note with invalid diagnosis. But she says what they put is okay.

I won't worry about the documentation then, unless they want it.

Thanks for ALL your feedback in the site! Greatly appreciated.

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