Page 18    winter issue of empowerment magazine
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Page 18 winter issue of empowerment magazine Document Transcript

  • 1. What You Can Do To Speed Up Your Disability Application By Rosario M Ramirez, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for the Northern AreaIf your disabling condition is preventing you from continuing to work, you may want to apply for disability benefits throughSocial Security. In most cases, doing so involves a thorough process of determining your eligibility, medical condition,and ability to work. Because we look so carefully at so many cases — more than three million each year — it can take usthree to five months to determine whether you are eligible.Processing times on that initial claim can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on: the nature of your disabil-ity; how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources; and whether we need to sendyou for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim.There are things you can do to help speed up the process. The more information you provide up front, the less timeit will take us to obtain the evidence we need — and the faster your claim can be processed. What type of information dowe need?Any medical records or documentation you have is helpful. We can make copies of the records you have and return youroriginals; the names, addresses, and phone numbers for any doctors, medical facilities, treatment centers, or providersrelated to your disabling condition;The names, addresses, and phone numbers for previous employers and the dates worked for each employer; workers’compensation information, including the settlement agreement, date of injury, claim number, and proof of other disabilitybenefits awarded;Names and dates of birth of your minor children and your spouse;Dates of marriages and divorces (if any); Checking or savings account number, and the bank’s 9-digit routing number, sowe can deposit your payment electronically;Name, address, and phone number of a person we can contact if we are unable to get in touch with you.If this disability application is for a child, we need the name, address, phone number of the schools attended and anyschool records you can provide.We also ask you to sign release forms that give us permission to obtain the information needed from third parties tomake a decision on your claim.The best place to start is online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability. Select “Disability Starter Kit” in the left column.There, you’ll find more information and starter kits for both adults and children.You can apply online for disability benefits (the easiest method), or you can make an appointment by phone or in a So-cial Security office. The choice is yours. (For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you cannot applyonline, but you still can complete the Disability Starter Kit to prepare for the interview and speed-up the processing time.)If you’re considering an application for disability benefits, the place to go is www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.DID YOU KNOW THAT?About one in five adults (ages 18 and older) has a diagnosable mental disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health) www.samhsa.gov