How can I speed up the disability application process?
First off: be prepared for the application before it even starts. Disability examiners will seek information regarding a claimant’s work history, medical history, and activities of daily living. Be prepared to provide this information by accumulating documentation and logging relevant information. List out all sources of medical treatment, including all doctors, all facilities, all diagnosed conditions, and all symptoms.
Be sure to provide addresses for treatment sources so that the disability examiner can retrieve these records. Remember that if you leave any tasks like this up to the disability examiner, it will only prolong your application process.
When providing your work history, go back 15 years prior to the onset of your disability. Include your job titles, job descriptions, the dates worked, and your rate of pay.
Always gather your medical records yourself. If you leave it up to Social Security to do this, they will take weeks or even months to do this. This is because as a third-party, Social Security has to deal with privacy laws and third-party medical record companies that operate extremely slowly. They may also have difficulty locating facilities. It is not uncommon for them to take 2-3 months to do this, when it is almost always substantially faster for a patient to retrieve their own records. Any delay in acquiring records is a delay in your entire case, as disability examiners cannot evaluate your case until all records in.
Get records that go back to the beginning of your disability. The farther back you go for records, the better chance you have in making a successful claim for back pay.
When gathering medical records, always remember that Social Security does not consider chiropractors to be acceptable medical sources.
Make sure all your records are current. The Social Security Administration will not declare you disabled unless some records are recent, AKA no older than 90 days.
Make sure you medical records include pain symptoms so that the disability examiner can take that into consideration in assessing your residual functional capacity. If pain limits your RFC it can be considered as part of your disability and affect the outcome of your claim. Pain will be considered only if it is supported by substantial recorded evidence. Make sure your initial application mentions pain as well.
Never minimize your levels of pain. Keep this in mind when talking to your doctors or discussing your case with a disability examiner. Many people feel embarrassed about admitting pain and try to tough it out instead. Doing this will only hurt your case, as hiding pain will only be used against you, since you want your pain to be recorded in your medical records. Be sure to mention every way that you are affected by pain – whether it is discomfort sitting in a chair at work or if it is painful to bend over to clean things in your house.