To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to accumulate a certain number of work credits, which can only be done by working in jobs covered by Social Security. The number of credits you need depends on how old you were when you suffered your disability. While younger workers can qualify for benefits with fewer credits, most people will have to earn at least 40 credits, and 20 of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years leading up to your disability.
Workers in Georgia who have paid into Social Security system for many years may assume that it will be easy to have their application for disability benefits approved. However, getting approved for Social Security disability benefits is not as easy as one may think. The Government Accountability Office found that approximately 67 percent of initial claims for disability benefits were denied.
The good news is that there are certain things you can do to give yourself a better chance at recovering the disability benefits you deserve. First, only apply if your medical condition or disability qualifies you for benefits. Generally, only people with a severe impairment expected to last at least one year will qualify. If you are not expected to survive past 12 months or if you are expected to recover within 12 months, there may be no reason to pursue benefits.
Once you have determined your eligibility, your focus should be providing the Social Security Administration with as much information as possible to make a quick decision. To do this, you should talk to your health care providers and physicians before sending in your application so that they will have all your medical records ready when it comes time to send them to the SSA. It is also important that you get your doctors to file reports and statements to support your claims. Your doctor’s medical opinions regarding your condition and treatment can be a critical part of your application. While the SSA is not required to go along with your doctor’s conclusions, the SSA must give importance to these opinions during the evaluation process.
Lastly, experts advise claimants to apply for disability benefits as soon as possible. The SSA can take a long time to make their decision (anywhere from three to six months) and if you get denied, you will need to file an appeal, which can take even longer. A disability benefits attorney can help you with every step of the process.