SSDI Benefits: How to Improve Your Odds of Approval

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can feel like you’re learning a whole new language. But don’t stress! We have a lot of experience, and have created a guide for you. Just relax and follow these 13 straightforward steps to help you easily get your SSDI benefits.

15 Tips for Improving Your Odds of Social Security Disability Approval

1. Get Help from a Professional

It’s okay to ask for help. A knowledgeable advocate or lawyer can make legal terms clear and get you ready for your big day at the disability hearing.

Important Tip: Choose a lawyer who knows a lot about SSDI. You wouldn’t ask a baker to fix your car, so it’s important to select the right expert for legal advice.

2. Take Your Medicine as Directed

Think of your medication like a daily homework assignment: if you don’t do it, your teacher will notice. Taking your medicine regularly not only benefits you, but also prevents those reviewing your health from questioning your condition.

3. Get a Clear Diagnosis

Getting a sure diagnosis is like scoring a big win in a game. Not only does it help you, it also impresses the people evaluating your health. Even if your health issues are complicated, having strong medical test results can support your case.

4. Go to a Workshop or Seminar

Learning more gives you power, and that power can help you get SSDI benefits. Join a workshop or an online class to learn more about how the process works. You might even get a nice certificate when you’re done!

5. Stay on Top of Paperwork

Some people enjoy surprises, but the people checking your SSDI forms don’t. Make sure you fill out your forms completely, and keep them well organized. Think of it as packing for a big trip, where everything needs to be in its proper place for a smooth experience.

6. Keep Going to the Doctor Regularly

It may be tempting to skip doctor’s appointments, like skipping school on a nice day. But having a steady record of doctor visits is really valuable when you’re trying to get SSDI. Don’t stop; keep building up those records.

7. Talk About Your Mental Health

Remember, your brain is part of your body, and mental health problems can be as difficult to manage as physical ones. Being upfront with your doctor about how you’re feeling mentally can give you more support for your SSDI application.

8. Get Ready Well for Your Hearing

This is your opportunity to really show who you are. Work with your lawyer to get ready for any questions the Social Security Administration may ask. Don’t just feel like you’re prepared—be confident you are.

9. Keep a Disability Diary

This isn’t for writing your life story. A disability diary is a place where you write down your symptoms and what you can’t do every day. It’s like keeping a daily journal, but this one could be used to support your case in court.

10. Update Your Medical Records Regularly

Your medical records are like a map. You wouldn’t use an old, outdated map to drive on today’s roads. Similarly, keep your medical records up-to-date so that evaluators of your SSDI claim have the latest information about your health.

11. Ask for Letters from Friends and Coworkers

You’re not gathering signatures for a petition, but letters from people who know about your health can really help your application. Think of it like personal testimonials that highlight your situation, similar to customer feedback for a product.

12. Show How Your Health Affects Your Job

We all have tough days at work, but ongoing health problems can make every day feel hard. Talk with your doctor to create a report that explains how your health makes work difficult. Be very clear, like saying, “My back pain makes even holding a coffee cup really painful.” This kind of detail is what you need.

Example: We had a client, let’s call him Bob, who always had bad migraines. He got a note from his doctor that said his migraines were so bad, looking at a computer screen felt overwhelming. That note really helped his case.

⚠️ Keep in mind, our articles are guides, not gospel. We are not the government, so for the most accurate benefit details, make sure to check with official government channels.

13. Stay Positive

The SSDI process can be exhausting, and it’s easy to feel down. Try not to be too gloomy, because being hopeful can really help. Remember, the judges are people too. They’re more likely to understand and sympathize if you show that you really want to get better and return to work.

Extra Tip: Practice showing your “I’m really trying to improve” expression in the mirror. You’d be amazed at how much being sincere can help your case.

14. Track Your Money

Medical records are very important, but don’t forget about keeping track of how your health affects your money. Keep record of things like emergency room visits, the cost of your medicine, and travel costs to doctors. It’s like keeping track of your money for tax time, but it’s even more important.

15. Listen to Stories from Successful SSDI Applicants

Take some time to look up or talk to people who have done well with their SSDI applications. It’s like getting lessons from people who have already completed a difficult journey—in this case, the journey is applying for and getting disability benefits.

Making the SSDI Application Easier

Starting the SSDI application can seem as overwhelming as assembling IKEA furniture without instructions. There are confusing terms, numerous steps, and a sense of needing to hurry. But, with the right methods and tools, you can make the entire process more manageable.

When you’re keeping a record of your daily health or collecting your medical information, don’t just focus on the major problems or the most severe symptoms. It’s equally important to write about the smaller issues and less serious aches. All this information together can provide a full view of your health situation, which can be very useful when applying for things like disability benefits or medical aid.

Why the Small Details Matter

We had a client, let’s call her Jane, who had arthritis. When she first applied for SSDI, she used basic medical records and didn’t do great at her hearing. It wasn’t a surprise when she didn’t get approved. Then, she decided to get more serious.

Jane asked her doctor to write down not just her arthritis, but also how it made everyday things hard for her. They wrote about her struggle to turn doorknobs and how she couldn’t stand for a long time. At her next hearing, with all these detailed records, things went differently. This time, she was approved.

Jane’s story shows how important it is to record and share even the small things.

What to Do Now? Maybe Make a List?

Think about making a list or a timeline of what you need to do. It can be a good way to check how you’re doing and make sure you’re not missing any important steps.

Imagine it like a trail of breadcrumbs that helps you stay on the right path and shows you’re going the right way. If you don’t like writing lists on paper, there are lots of computer or phone apps that can help you keep track. Choose whatever is best for you.

SSDI Approval Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for SSDI?

It can be different for each person, but you usually have to wait a few months to hear back about your application. If you need to appeal a decision, it could take even more time.

2. What Papers Do I Have to Fill Out for SSDI?

You will usually have to fill out forms SSA-16 (which is the Application for Disability Insurance Benefits) and SSA-3368 (which is the Disability Report). It’s important to familiarize yourself with the information each of these forms asks for.

3. What Medical Records Should I Have?

It’s really important to have all your medical records. These include things like what your health condition is, what treatments you’re receiving, and what your doctors say about your health and how it affects what you do every day.

4. Can I Have a Job While I Apply for SSDI?

Yes, you can work, but be careful about how much money you make. If you earn too much, it could mean you don’t qualify for SSDI.

5. What Should I Do If I am Turned Down for Benefits?

Don’t give up! You can ask them to look at your application again within 60 days after you get the letter saying you were denied. A lot of people get approved when they appeal.

6. Can Someone in My Family Help Me with My SSDI Application?

Yes, a family member can help you with your application, but it’s often better to get help from a professional who is an expert on SSDI. They can give you more specific advice.

7. Should I Hire a Lawyer?

You don’t have to, but it’s a really good idea. Lawyers who are experts in SSDI can help you throughout the application process and make it more likely that you’ll get approved.

8. Why Do People Often Get Denied for Benefits?

Common reasons include not having enough medical proof, not taking your prescribed medicine or treatment, and having a previous application denial.