You just finished filing your Initial Application for disability benefits with your representative or at your local SSA office. You’ve more than likely heard that it is going to take 4-6 months for a decision to be made. That’s a lot of waiting time! Many people at this point ask themselves, now what? There are several things you can do to help your case while you wait for a decision to be made:
Turn all paperwork in immediately. SSA will be frequently sending you forms to sign and reports to complete during these months to gain more information on your case. It is absolutely essential that you comply with their requests as most of these forms have time limits. Completing and sending everything back in as soon as possible will ensure that no unnecessary delays are placed on your case.
Obtain your medical records. It is true that SSA will be sending requests for records to all the doctor’s you listed on your Initial Application. While many doctors comply with these requests, some will not send your records in to SSA or will take a long time to do so. If you obtain copies of all your medical records, you can immediately send in anything that is missing to SSA. It is also a good idea to let your doctors know that you have applied for disability benefits so they are aware that they will need to send your records in.
Document your conditions thoroughly. Social Security is always looking for the most updated information on your conditions. If you have a doctor’s appointment, record it! Write down any new medications you’ve been prescribed, any new symptoms you have, whenever you are in pain and the level of it, and how you feel on a day-to-day basis. This will ensure that SSA always has the most current information on your conditions.
Stay in contact with SSA or your attorney. If you’ve filed on your own, it is a good idea to check in with SSA about once a month to find out the status of your claim to ensure that nothing is delayed and SSA has received all the forms they require. If you hired an attorney, they will be contacting SSA for you to ensure that everything is processing smoothly and then keeping you updated about this.
Waiting 4-6 months for a decision to be made at this level can be frustrating and discouraging, but these tips will help your claim stay on track.