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How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

In Rhode Island, those who can’t work because they are injured or ill can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. These benefits offer monthly income to people who have a disability that makes it impossible to hold down a job or earn a living.

Unfortunately, the success rate for first-time SSD applicants in Rhode Island is around 30 percent, which means that about 70 percent of people have their benefits claims rejected. This can be devastating if you were counting on the benefits to help you and your family to survive. However, you can take steps to avoid having your claim denied and to appeal a rejection from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

At Gemma Law Associates, Inc., our attorneys have successfully helped many Rhode Island residents get the Social Security disability benefits they need and deserve. We want to help you, too.

Give us a call today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation about your case.

You Need to Submit a Disability Application

To have the best chance of avoiding a denial of disability benefits, you should ensure that you have completed your application in full. Fortunately, the SSA has a checklist on its website specifying the information that needs to be included on a disability application.

The application for benefits actually has multiple parts.

The first part is the disability application. It is designed to ensure that you meet basic eligibility criteria. The second part is the disability report. It requires detailed information on the medical condition that you are hoping will qualify you to receive benefits.

You will also need to include the Authorization to Disclose Information form (SSA-827). This gives permission for information about your medical condition to be disclosed to the Social Security Administration.

To prove basic eligibility, you need to include on your disability application:

  • Your marriage and divorce date (if applicable).
  • Names and birthdates of your spouse and minor children.
  • Any discharge papers from all periods of active duty military service.
  • Tax forms from the prior year, including a W-2 form for employees or the IRS 1040 form and schedules C and SE for self-employed individuals.
  • Information from your financial institution (a checking or savings account number and routing number) if you want direct deposit of your benefits.

The disability report may be the most important part of your application. This is where you must convince the SSA that you have a severe disability that causes significant impairment. This report needs to include:

  • Name and contact information (address and phone number) of a person who is familiar with your health status and can assist with your claim.
  • Name and contact information of doctors providing treatment of your condition.
  • Any patient number that identifies you with your physician.
  • Dates and other information about treatments you have undergone.
  • Medications you are taking and the name of the prescribing physician(s).
  • Types of medical tests you have undergone.
  • A list of as many as five jobs you have held in the past 15 years prior to becoming too disabled to work.
  • Information about workers’ compensation claims or disability insurance claims you may have filed.

When you complete your disability report, it may be advisable to use your medical records to get the necessary information so you can be as thorough as possible. You also want to ensure that you outline all of the treatments you have undergone and provide information from treating physicians who are specialists in their fields.

The strength of your medical evidence can make or break your claim.

Getting Help Applying for Disability Benefits in Rhode Island

To prove you are disabled, you need to show:

  • Your medical condition has or will last 12 months.
  • The condition is listed on the SSA’s listing of impairments.
  • You have the required symptoms that the SSA specifies.

If your condition isn’t listed by the SSA, you will need to prove it is medically equivalent in severity.

Completing your application and convincing the SSA that you are disabled can be very complicated. An experienced attorney from Gemma Law Associates, Inc., is available to help with SSD cases in Rhode Island, including applications and appeals.

To learn more about how our lawyers can assist with your disability case, simply give us a call or contact us online today. Our case reviews are always free.


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