With the backlog of Social Security disability claims rising, it is more important than ever to ensure applicants are actively working to positively impact their claim. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates provide guidance on how applicants can positively impact their Social Security disability benefits claim.

Have Your Doctor Complete an RFC Form

Inform your doctor that you will be applying for Social Security disability benefits, and ask them if they would be able to complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form for you. An RFC form assesses an applicant’s ability to work when considering their mental or physical disability. They will be able to determine this by performing an RFC assessment, which tests an applicant’s physical and mental capabilities.

The RFC form is extensive, and can take an hour or more to complete, so be sure to inform your doctor about your intentions well in advance. If possible, leave an additional copy with a nurse or secretary, which may speed up the process should the original form become lost.

Personally Submit Copies of Your Medical Records

Many medical professionals and institutions are notorious for slow processing times of medical record requests, and so it may be advantageous to your disability claim to retrieve and submit your medical records personally, along with your Social Security application.

Be sure to be thorough, and send any and all medical records that are pertinent to your claim—missing information may cause your application to be denied, even if your case is otherwise sound.

Establish a Relationship with the Disability Claims Examiner

A disability claims examiner will be assigned to your disability application, and their contact information should be provided to you in correspondence from your local Social Security Disability Determination Services office (DDS).

Be sure to cooperate fully with any requests they make for additional information—answer all correspondence promptly, and arrive punctually to any consultative medical exams scheduled by DDS. Remain polite and respectful, even if your claim seems to be taking a long time; however, do not be afraid to reach out to the examiner regularly for updates regarding your claim.

Stay Aware of Deadlines and Your Application’s Status

Be mindful of any deadlines related to your application, and regularly check the status of your claim, either online, over the phone or by visiting your local DDS office directly. Most initial claims take approximately three months to process; if it has been longer than three months and you have not received a decision, follow up as quickly as possible.

Retain the Assistance of a Disability Advocate

Many disability claims are initially rejected; however, applicants who retain the assistance of a disability advocate are far more successful on their initial application. It is important to have a skilled and dedicated professional fighting in your corner when you are trying to receive the disability benefits you deserve. The disability attorneys at Disability Associates are committed to helping those with disabilities improve their quality of life—if you or a loved one is applying for Social Security disability benefits, contact us today for more information about how we can help.