Social Security Disability benefits are valuable for those unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. For those living in Moses Lake, Washington, obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can be complex and overwhelming.  Moses Lake social security disability lawyers from Calbom & Schwab can provide invaluable guidance, support, and representation throughout the application and appeals process, ensuring that the individual’s rights are protected and their case is effectively presented.

Challenges in Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits

Acquiring Social Security Disability Benefits in Moses Lake, Washington, can be difficult and time-consuming. Applicants must submit comprehensive medical records to demonstrate that their disability prevents them from working. The records must prove that the disability has lasted, or is anticipated to last, for a minimum of 12 months or lead to death. In Moses Lake, Washington, the Social Security Administration’s Disability Determination Services office oversees the review of applications and makes decisions regarding eligibility.

Adhering to Rigorous Medical Standards

A significant hurdle for applicants is complying with the stringent medical criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration. The agency employs a five-step evaluation method to ascertain an individual’s eligibility for benefits. This process examines the severity of the person’s medical condition, capacity to carry out basic work tasks, and ability to adapt to other work opportunities within the national economy. To be approved for benefits, individuals must satisfy each evaluation step.

  • Substantial Gainful Activity: The initial step of the evaluation concerns whether the individual participates in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA involves significant and profitable work, encompassing meaningful physical or mental activities and generating a certain monthly income. If the individual is involved in SGA, they are deemed non-disabled and ineligible for benefits.
  • Medical Severity: The second step focuses on the individual’s medical condition. These conditions can be physical, psychological, cognitive, or any combination of the three. The medical condition(s) must hinder the person’s ability to perform ordinary tasks as they customarily performed. Physically, these can include ongoing limitations on the ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, or carry. Psychologically or cognitively, limitations can consider the ability to focus, concentrate, perform basic tasks requiring cognitive skills such as memory, engage with other people, socialize, perform tasks at a reasonable pace, or other similar activities. For social security purposes, a severe impairment is one characterized as imposing more than a minimal effect on an individual’s ability to do basic work activities. 
  • Listing of Impairments: The third step determines if the individual’s medical condition matches or equals a medical listing of impairments defined by the Social Security Administration. These listings detail specific medical conditions severe enough to qualify an individual for benefits automatically. The evaluation proceeds to the next step if the condition fails to meet or equal a listing.
  • Ability to Perform Past Work: Before proceeding with the fourth step, the judge must establish the functional limitations of the individual, including those imposed by pain. Once this is done, the judge will proceed with the fourth step and determine whether the claimant is able to perform their past relevant work.  This pertains to work completed within the last 15 years involving significant physical or mental activities and generating a certain monthly income. If the individual can perform their past relevant work, they are deemed non-disabled and ineligible for benefits.
  • Ability to Perform Other Work: The final step evaluates whether the individual can adapt to other work opportunities in the national economy. This refers to work that exists in substantial numbers nationally and that individuals can perform considering their age, education, and work experience. If the individual cannot adjust to other work, they are considered disabled and eligible for benefits.

Steps Individuals Should Take

To enhance the likelihood of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, individuals in Moses Lake should consider undertaking the following measures:

  • Collect Comprehensive Medical Records: Applicants need to submit detailed medical records that effectively illustrate the severity of their condition. These records should encompass information regarding treatments, medications, and any restrictions or limitations resulting from the disability.
  • Secure Supportive Documentation: In addition to medical records, applicants should acquire documentation from their treating physician that corroborates their disability benefits claim. This may involve obtaining a written statement from the doctor that describes the severity of the condition, its impact on the individual’s daily life, and the limitations it imposes on their ability to work.
  • Fill Out the Application Meticulously: To avoid delays in the application process, applicants should invest time and effort into accurately and thoroughly completing their application. Any inaccuracies, inconsistencies, or missing information can hinder the application’s progress and may result in denial.
  • Seek Assistance from a Disability Benefits Attorney: Navigating the intricate process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging for many individuals. Hiring an experienced social security attorney who specializes in disability benefits can be advantageous, as they can ensure that the application is comprehensive and accurate. Moreover, social security attorneys can offer valuable guidance and representation if an appeal becomes necessary.
  • Stay Informed and Persistent: Applicants should remain informed about the status of their application and be prepared to provide any additional information or documentation requested by the Social Security Administration. Staying engaged and persistent throughout the application process can demonstrate commitment and help obtain a favorable outcome.
  • Prepare for a Possible Appeal: Individuals should be ready to file a Request for Reconsideration if the initial application is denied. This may require gathering additional evidence or seeking further medical evaluations to strengthen the case. If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, an individual should be prepared to file an appeal, called a Request for Hearing. Be aware that the time limit to file either a Request for Reconsideration or a Request for Hearing is limited to 60 days from the date of the letter denying benefits. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the appeals process and deadlines to ensure they are well-prepared should an appeal become necessary.

Beneficiary Rights

In Moses Lake, Washington, individuals approved for Social Security Disability benefits possess specific rights. One such right is to receive regular payments if they are determined to be disabled. These payments offer financial assistance to help cover living expenses, medical costs, and other necessary expenditures.

Additionally, approved individuals have the right to appeal any decision made by the Social Security Administration. This ensures they can contest determinations they believe are incorrect, request reconsideration, or pursue further review through the appeals process.

Lastly, those receiving disability benefits can work part-time, provided they report their income to the Social Security Administration. This allows individuals to supplement their disability benefits and maintain financial independence without jeopardizing their eligibility for assistance.

The Importance of Providing Accurate Information

A vital aspect of applying for Social Security Disability benefits is submitting accurate and comprehensive information regarding your medical condition and work history. The decision-making process for disability claims by the Social Security Administration is heavily dependent on the medical evidence provided by applicants. As a result, supplying thorough and precise information about your medical condition becomes essential to the application’s success. Examples of such information include all medical records pertaining to treatment and medications you have received concerning your disability. 

Ensuring that your medical records document all treatments and medications you have received concerning your disability. Ensuring that your medical records are up-to-date and complete will help the Social Security Administration assess the severity of your condition and its impact on your ability to work. Accurate medical documentation can strengthen your case and improve your chances of receiving benefits.

In addition to medical information, your work history plays a significant role in determining your eligibility for disability benefits. It is crucial to provide detailed information about your previous employment, including job titles, responsibilities, and durations. This information will help the Social Security Administration evaluate your ability to perform past work or adjust to other types of employment, which is an integral part of the decision-making process for disability claims.

The Significance of Prompt Filing for Social Security Disability Claims

Delaying the filing process may lead to a significant reduction in past due benefits that may be payable to you or it may lead to the loss of eligibility for Title II Social Security Disability benefits.

Preserving Eligibility for Benefits

Social Security Disability benefits are often determined based on an individual’s work history and the amount of Social Security credits they have accrued. If you wait too long to file your claim, your eligibility for benefits may be jeopardized as your most recent work credits may no longer be considered. This could result in the denial of your application or a decrease in the benefits you receive.

Avoiding Reapplication

If you file an application but fail to file a Request for Reconsideration or a Request for Hearing within the 60 day time limit from an adverse decision, then you would have no choice but to restart the entire application process with a new application. By filing a new application, you may become ineligible for a significant period of past due benefits, the retroactive payment that is available to many disabled people. 

Reducing Financial Strain

The sooner you file your claim, the quicker you may receive the financial assistance you need. The timely filing allows you to access benefits that can help cover living expenses, medical costs, and other necessary expenditures related to your disability.

Expediting Medical Treatment

By filing your claim promptly, you can potentially gain access to essential medical treatments and support services sooner. This can be crucial for managing your disability and maintaining your overall well-being.

Ensuring Accurate Medical Documentation

Filing your claim soon after your diagnosis helps ensure that your medical records and documentation are up-to-date and accurately reflect your current condition. This can be essential for building a strong case and increasing your chance of receiving benefits.

Staying Informed

Consulting with an experienced social security lawyer early in the process allows you to stay informed about your rights and responsibilities concerning your disability claim. This knowledge can be crucial for avoiding potential pitfalls or delays in the application process.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Engaging the services of a lawyer experienced in Social Security litigation can be immensely beneficial for individuals applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) benefits in Moses Lake, Washington. An attorney can offer guidance and expertise in various aspects of the application process, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome. Some of the key advantages of hiring an attorney include the following:

  • Accurate and Thorough Application Completion: An experienced attorney can help applicants complete the application form accurately and thoroughly, ensuring that all necessary information is provided. This can prevent potential delays or denials due to mistakes or incomplete documentation.
  • Gathering Comprehensive Medical Records: Social Security Disability attorneys can assist individuals in gathering the necessary medical records and supporting documentation to demonstrate the severity of their disability. They can also advise on additional medical evaluations or tests that may strengthen the applicant’s case.
  • Understanding the Legal Process: Social Security Disability lawyers are well-versed in the legal process and requirements. They can explain the steps involved in the application process, ensuring that the applicant is fully informed and prepared for each stage.
  • Advocating for the Applicant’s Rights: An attorney can communicate as a strong advocate for the individual, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the application process. They can communicate with the Social Security Administration on the applicant’s behalf and address any concerns or issues.
  • Representation in Appeals: If the initial application is denied, an attorney can provide valuable representation during the appeals process. An attorney can help the individual gather additional evidence, prepare for hearings, and present a compelling case to overturn the denial.
  • Expert Guidance and Strategy: A knowledgeable attorney can offer expert guidance on the best strategy for presenting the applicant’s case. This may include identifying specific aspects of the disability that should be emphasized or advising on addressing potential challenges to the claim.
  • Stress Reduction: Navigating the complex process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be overwhelming for many individuals. Hiring an attorney can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with the process, allowing applicants to focus on their health and well-being.

Hiring an attorney for Social Security Disability applications in Moses Lake, Washington, can offer invaluable support, guidance, and expertise. By ensuring the application is accurate, comprehensive, and effectively presented, an attorney can significantly improve the individual’s chances of obtaining the benefits they need and deserve.

Contact Calbom & Schwab for Moses Lake Social Security Disability Lawyers

Enlisting the help of social security disability lawyers from Calbom & Schwab can offer numerous advantages. From ensuring accurate and comprehensive application completion to providing expert guidance and representation during appeals, a lawyer can be a critical resource for individuals seeking disability benefits. Contact us today.