Indianapolis couple happy after winning disability benefits

Our Top Tips for Securing the Benefits You Need

If only you had financial support when health problems make working impossible. You could worry less and focus on your own well-being.

Social Security Disability benefits —which provide monthly checks when you can’t work but you’re not old enough for retirement benefits—could be just the thing to return some peace to your life.

But they make benefits so hard to get.

Most people get denied. In Indiana, when you go to a hearing with a disability judge, many people finally win benefits, but it’s often still less than half (43% in 2019).

So what can you do to win benefits?

While nothing is guaranteed, you can take steps to give yourself a stronger case for Social Security Disability benefits.

At Hanley Disability, our team of DISABILITY ADVOCATES can guide you through this process. See our top tips below.

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8 Things You Can Do to Make a Stronger Social Security Disability Claim

The most important thing to understand about winning Social Security Disability benefits is that you can’t just tell Social Security your health is bad and you can’t work.

You have to prove it.

You have to prove that you can’t work in your last job, you can’t switch to another job, and you’re not going to get better for at least a year.

To prove it, do these eight things:

  1. Fill out your application completely: Don’t skip over something that’s hard to answer. Someone at Social Security may question what you’re leaving out.
  2. Avoid mistakes in the information you send: If Social Security finds an error later, it can hurt your chances of winning benefits.
  3. Get regular medical care for the ailments that stop you from working. This is a key part. If you’re not getting regular treatment, Social Security might not believe your condition is serious enough for benefits.
  4. Provide strong medical evidence: When you’re getting regular care, you can give Social Security reports from doctor visits and medical tests, so they can see how serious your impairments are. You need this to win benefits.
  5. Provide detailed work history. People who evaluate your claim will compare your medical condition to the physical and mental requirements of your work to decide whether you should get benefits. Make sure they can clearly see everything your job demanded of you.
  6. Make sure you’re not working much. If you continue to work, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. You can work small amounts and still get benefits, but be careful.
  7. Meet all the deadlines. When you’re denied benefits, you have 60 days to start an appeal. Don’t miss that window.
  8. Work with an advocate. By making sure all of the above is covered, an experienced disability advocate can reduce your burden and give you the best shot at being approved.

The team of disability advocates at Hanley Disability can take a look at your situation and let you know where you stand, FOR FREE.

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What Do I Need if I’m Going to a Social Security Disability Hearing?

When you’ve been denied disability benefits, and you’re going to a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), the process gets much more complicated than applying for disability benefits in the first place.

You need a whole new approach, including:

  • Gathering fresh evidence from your doctors and medical providers
  • Setting a strategy for your arguments to the judge
  • Preparing to testify
  • Preparing to question experts (like medical or vocational experts) who testify about you
  • Preparing to take your appeal to higher levels if needed

At this step, having a professional disability advocate helps even more.

In fact, one government study found that people with representatives at their hearings were almost three times more likely to be awarded benefits.

If you work with someone who’s been through this process many times, it’s easier on you, and you’re more likely to win Social Security Disability benefits.

At Hanley Disability, Social Security Disability is all we do. Give us a call.

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