If you have been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness or sustained a significant injury, then you might be considering filing for social security disability benefits in MN. However, you have also probably heard or read horror stories of those who have been fighting for years to get benefits, only to be rejected time and time again. You know you need the benefits, but are not sure whether you have the fight in you. Experiencing disability is already frustrating enough (and it is not a club that anyone wants to join) without the hassle of dealing with the Social Security Administration (SSA), including the timely completion of the many forms required to move through the process.
Obtaining disability benefits can be difficult, but also life-changing. If you are fighting for or considering applying for disability benefits, continue reading for information about the impact of completing forms on obtaining your award.
What you write and what you say matters.
When you apply for benefits, you will do so either online, over the phone, or in-person. You will need to answer many person questions about your medical history, how you spend your day, and your work history.
If you answer questions over the phone or in-person, be aware that the interviewer is assessing how you present yourself and making notes accordingly. If you allege that you suffer from debilitating depression and you are cracking jokes and relating to the examiner with ease, then they will make a note of this. That is not to say that you should “fake” your disposition because these people have met enough claimants to tell who is acting, but you can explain that on that day you are having a “good day,” but note how many good days you have relative to bad days.
Similarly, if you are completing your daily activities report and state that you have debilitating fibromyalgia, but you perform all of your household chores and self-care independently, your claim may not be taken seriously. Nevertheless, you are able to explain that you have days where you are unable to perform your basic functions and need assistance.
However, do not let the paper work or interviews paralyze you.
Even though what you say and write matters, do not allow that to prevent you from completing your paperwork and forms in a timely manner. At each stage of the process, including the application (or first) stage, you will be expected to complete forms and return them to Disability Determination Services or the SSA. Failure to complete these forms in a timely manner will result in the dismissal and denial of your claim. Therefore, it is imperative that you complete the forms and turn them in on time. To do so, utilize these following suggestions:
- Check your mail daily. Even if you cannot make it out to your mailbox everyday, make sure that a member of your household does. If you are homeless or have to move from one family member’s home to another with frequency, be sure to have one place that you can consistently obtain your mail. Though Social Security does offer some leniency on the deadlines if you can show that the mail went to the wrong address, proving that fact can be difficult and time-consuming.
- Get a family member or close friend to help you. You may not realize how much of an impact your disability is on your daily life or have become accustomed to living with the limitations of your disability. Sometimes it takes another person to recognize those limitations and memorialize them on the forms.
- Answer one question at a time. The forms can be overwhelming, especially when you receive your Adult Function Report and Work History Report. You do not have to answer all the questions in one sitting. Just take one page at a time and one question at a time and they will get complete.
- Consult with an experienced social security disability law firm. The fees for disability awards are set by statute and are on a contingency fee basis. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and may result in a win earlier than without an attorney. If you or a loved one is fighting for or considering filing for social security disability benefits and need help, please contact us for a free consultation.
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Contact the law office of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter today at (507) 625-3000 for a free case review. We are located in Mankato, Minnesota.