Facing the reality that you can no longer work is a tough realization. I know this because I have seen many of my clients wait a year, two years, and even longer to come to accept that they just cannot work any longer, and need to start thinking about a Social Security Disability application. This is true, even though the truth is that Social Security is an insurance program that you have paid into for your whole career. The application process is long, and tedious, so before you jump in, here are some things to think about to decide whether it is time to apply:
1. How severe is your disability?
Many of my clients have worked physically demanding jobs, including logging, fishing, construction or mill work. These jobs wear a body down, and it is easy to understand how a person can no longer perform this kind of work. However, if you can still do a lighter duty job, then there is chance that you are not disabled, especially if you are under 50 years of age. You have to show that you are not able to do your past work, and that there is no other job that exists, even minimum wage work, in the national economy, that you can perform on a full time basis.
2. How long is your condition expected to last?
Some medical problems get worse over time, and are known as "progressive." Other conditions, like an injury, may improve over time. You must show that your disability has lasted, or is expected to last one year.
3. Do you have medical records to explain your symptoms and limitations?
Anyone can claim that they have pain, or that they cannot not do certain activities. That is why the Social Security regulations require some medical evidence to explain symptoms. Things like doctor charts, clinical findings, x rays, MRIs, and other lab tests will confirm or at least explain why you have certain symptoms or limitations. You will need to know who your doctors are when you apply, so these medical records can be included in your claim file.
These are just a few of the considerations in deciding whether to apply for benefits, or appeal a denial. For more information, call us to order a free consumer guide, or go to our download page. There is no obligation, and it can help you make a good decision.