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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, meaning about 70 percent of people have their benefits claims rejected. This can be devastating if you are 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, our attorneys have helped many Rhode Island residents get the Social Security disability benefits they need and deserve. We want to help you, too.

Call us 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.

SSDI application process infographic

The application for benefits 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 you hope will qualify you to receive benefits.

You must also include the Authorization to Disclose Information form (SSA-827). This permits 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 crucial 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 familiar with your health status and who 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 before becoming too disabled to work.
  • Information about workers’ compensation 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 specialize 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 the SSA doesn’t list your condition, you must prove it is medically equivalent in severity.

Completing your application and convincing the SSA that you are disabled can be complicated. An experienced attorney from Gemma Law Associates 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, give us a call or contact us online today. Our case reviews are always free.

Serving the Greater Providence metro area, including WarwickCranstonPawtucketNorth ProvidenceSouth KingstonCoventryCumberlandWoonsocket, and East Providence.

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Susan Hallam
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