Need Help Applying For Social Security Disability

I am about to apply for Social Security Disability. In my mind, I have been eligible for 12 years, but have continually been turned down. The head of the heart transplant team at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City even sent a letter saying I had to have a transplant or I would die. (I did improve so that the transplant was not necessary). But I still can't work enough to earn a living. Do you have any tips for me on how to meet their requirements and document my medical condition? I really need help! Thanks in advance!



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January 12, 20050 found this helpful


If you have been turned down more than once by the SSA, I suggest that you contact a lawyer whose speciality is disability claims.


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January 13, 20050 found this helpful

I've known several people who have tried for years to get on Social Security Disability and only succeeded after they got an attorney. They will take a portion of what you get for the original settlement but you usually get money back to when you first applied. I think (based on several friends experience) that it is the government's policy with SS and with VA benefits to deny as many claims as possible. Many people just give up or die before getting benefits and then they don't need to pay them. If you and your doctors believe you have a valid claim, don't give up and just keep appealing. An attorney will not charge you anything, nor will they take the case if they don't believe they can get you your money.


Susan from ThriftyFun

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By Kathy (Guest Post)
January 13, 20050 found this helpful

I work for SSA taking dib claims. If you are turned down and do not agree with the decision, by all means, keep filing that appeal. An attorney can be a good idea, there are several out there. I would recommend going on SSA's web site and filing out the form SSA-3368 and filing online. The form is better in your own words and this gives you the time to tell them in your words what your disablility is. The biggest is to make sure you give plenty of details about EVERYTHING, not just about what you think is important. Remember, the workers at SSA do not make the medical decisions, they just help you with the paperwork. The decision is out of their hands. IF you would like to email me, my email is

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By jeanie (Guest Post)
January 13, 20050 found this helpful

I am on disability andi have found is they want to know what your worst day is like!


I have good days and bad days and I can tell you the bad days for me are like a walking disaster! Also, an attorney is essential anymore. They can do quite a bit for you, as they have experience that we don't have in fighting for your needs.

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January 13, 20050 found this helpful

Remember, you need to be proactive on this. Send in the forms. Call Social Security up and ask for help from them. Be very careful to send any information in ON-TIME or at least call and ask what you can do if you're late. Many times the first application is denied because they don't have all the information to make the decision. Call SSA and ask if your file is complete and ask which doctor doesn't have information turned in. Call the doctor yourself and encourage them to turn it in. Call social security again 15 days later to see if your file is complete again. When it is, ask approximately how long it will take for a decision to be made (like 6 weeks). Put the date on the calander and call at that time if you haven't heard yet. The name of the game is persistence. Be always patient and polite with docs and with the disability determination office, but be PERSISTENT! You're not "bothering" them. This is essential to your life situation and you have the right to know -- as long as you are pleasant and patient. Yelling at them or becoming a pest never helps and may be detrimental to your case.


Be sure to appeal if they deny you. It has to be sent in within 60 days. If you are denied again, then you must appear in court before a judge at the next level of appeal. Particularly at that time you'd need a lawyer. You pay nothing up-front to the lawyer. A lawyer will evaluate your case to see if they will accept it. If you are denied disability then you pay the lawyer nothing. If you win disability, then you get a back-payment back to when your disability started. (I got 2 yrs of backpayment which was about $16,000.) The lawyer receives a quarter (25%) of the backpayment whatever it ends up being. Social security stipulates this fee schedule so it is consistent across the country. A lawyer may not charge more.

It is important to get a lawyer whose practice is primarily disability law. It is complicated stuff. You don't want someone who handles one case a month. They won't know the ins and outs of it and they won't know the judges who hear these cases in your area.


If you miss the date for sending in an appeal (like I did), don't worry about it. You can send in a new application and start over. Then resend all the information again.

Good luck.

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January 13, 20050 found this helpful

Another thing...

A lawyer can be helpful in a number of ways. They know how to word things on your application so that social security will accept it. Of course only report the truth, but it is important to report the grimmest side of the truth. Another poster said to report how your bad days are and how many bad days you have in a month. For example, maybe you feel ok many days, but in a 20-day work month, you'd have to call in sick 8 of those days. No employer could work around a schedule like that. A lawyer can help a physician report the information in such a way that social security will accept it. Not all docs know how to fill these out effectively.


They are used to cryptic notes in charts which mean a lot to another doc but not to a non-medical person. A lawyer can help them strengthen a doc's report so the seriousness of the disability will be apparent to a non-medical person.

The definition social security uses for disability is pretty strict. It is if you cannot be gainfully employed which is defined as earning $800+ per month. Not whether you could work the job you left, but if you can work anything at all and earn more than $850/month. (The amount changes over time.) So your answers to social security's question must be valid for any job at all, not just pertaining to the nursing job you had before for example.

Keep working on it. You'll make it.


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By Linda (Guest Post)
January 16, 20050 found this helpful

I am a RN who tried twice on my own to apply for SSDI. I was told by my counsleor that going to an attorney who specializes is the only way I would ever get disability income. I took her advice and sure enough! Plus I was reimbursed from the date of my accident (4 years prior) and was given Medicare Insurance that has been an absolute blessing.

Good luck!

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By Connie (Guest Post)
January 24, 20050 found this helpful

check your area to see if there is a college with a legal clinic. In my area a law school lets students help with the application.

You are better off applying in person. Think ahead of time of the things you have learned coping techniques. left listing problems that I had previously had. The idea is to be able to tell the worker, SPECIFIC ways that your disability afffects your daily life and work life.

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By Tom Davidson (Guest Post)
January 28, 20050 found this helpful

But i have been disabled since 2000 but the disability determination services said that . However,the medical evidence shows that your condition did not prevent all work activity until May 6 2004. I applied july/2004. I was approved for full disability with a review in 7 years .With my first month of entitlement for November 2004. They said I have to be disabled for a full 5 months before I can be entitled to benefits, With all my medical problems I have I don't see how they can determine that I was able to have any work activity up to May 6 / 04. Can I appeal this to maybe get back pay for any time from now to 2000?

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January 28, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Tom,
It looks like you can appeal their decision and possibly get the back pay:

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February 1, 20050 found this helpful

Hello Coreen,The first thing you should do is call your local Assembly person. Ask if they can help you.Then get a lawyer that will wait for their share until they get the judgement for you. I had settled with the insurance company because they told me I could trust them. !! HA!! The lawyer got me $20,000 more and finally got my SSI. I had been turned down, but had I gotten the lawyer right away. I wouldn't have wasted all the years I did. Hang in there. It takes time to get through the system.
Best of Luck

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By Sue (Guest Post)
October 22, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Coreen,

Sorry you've gotten the runaround. An attorney can stop all that for you, and get the doctors to give him the forms he needs to get your claim approved, and get your thru all the "hoops" SSA puts in people's way!

This is a great group my friends have gotten excelent referrals for SSA. Please call them and go and see 1 or 2 of their referrals for a free consult.

Securing your future and your Medicare medical benefits are key to staying healthy. God bless and stay strong. The lawyer will make the claim go through.

Their small % fee is well worth it and they only get it if they get you approved! Plus, your benefits are retroactive, so you will start with a good chunk when you are approved!

Good luck and hang in there! Sue from CT -- here's the info!

Once you locate 2 or 3 attorneys from this referral organization, go in for a free consultation. Then you can pick a person who best understands you, and your situation.

Most people filing for SSA benefits have multiple medical disability categories to file with, so it's good to see an attorney and find out which one(s) are your strongest to file claim under. You may also qualify for SSI (supplemental security income) in addition to SSA! An attorney can tell you.

They get nothing if you get nothing (only some teeny paper copying fees) -- but a large percentage of folks who use a SSA attorney to file, get approved very quickly and get retroactive benefits from the time of their inability to work.

SSA benefits are very different from Worker's Comp or other things some folks have gone through. This program is 100% about whether you are able to work. My friends who have filed have all gotten approved when using an attorney. It is easy to make mistakes, not get the right forms filed, not have doctors cooperate, etc.

Once you get an attorney that disappears. Everyone "plays ball" and you lawyer gets the job done!

His fee is well worth securing not only your future lifetime security and benefits, but also your Medicare Health Insurance benefits you will receive! You may also be eligible for Medicaid (low-income health insurance) while you wait for the Medicare insurance to kick in with your Social Security Benefits.

This group is very reputable. My friends have gotten good referrals from them to great attorneys! Good luck! & ((Hugs))


National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives

NOSSCR: 560 Sylvan Ave, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
(800) 431-2804 ; Fax: 201-567-1542

The National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) is committed to providing the highest quality representation and advocacy on behalf of persons who are seeking Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.

NOSSCR Lawyer Referral Service

For help in finding attorney representation, contact our lawyer referral service during Eastern business hours: 1-800-431-2804

Frequently Asked Questions --

(very comprehensive list of how it all works! Including $$)


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By Mr.b (Guest Post)
July 26, 20070 found this helpful

I just got approved my ssi disability after two years and it took a lawyer to get this done finally. My question is if I have been receiving LTD from my ex-employer do I have to pay back LTD company from my retro pay?

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By Annie (Guest Post)
September 7, 20080 found this helpful

How Long it takes to get your retroactive paid

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September 7, 20080 found this helpful

Make sure you are eligble. My ex was self emp for the last 5 years prior to his illness, so even though he is on a transplant waiting list and truely is disabled, he can not collect, neither can his children. All he can get is the ssi which is the low income benifit. He was told had he paid in while he was self employeed during the 5 years prior to his illness, he could have collected.

FYI, he did pay into it for over 30 years, but they told him they only look at the last 5.

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September 29, 20100 found this helpful

Here's another resource that you may want to take a look at:

They have a great deal of information on social security disability benefits and law.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

In 2005 I became disabled. I applied for medicare disability and was denied. I called medicare and asked about the appeal process. They sent me the proper forms and instructions. I was approved. It took time and effort, but I didn't have to pay lawyer fees. I know several people who have SS disability and it seems SS turns down everyone the first time. Good Luck.

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