The application process for receiving disability compensation is complicated – and often confusing. Social Security Disability benefits are not awarded easily or quickly, so the sooner you begin the process, the better your chances are for receiving an award. You can improve your chances for having your claim approved by gathering all the required information you will need ahead of time.
Filing for Disability in South Carolina
You will submit forms to the Social Security Administration. For more information, please see the Social Security Disability booklet. However, the following documents will be necessary, regardless of the specifics of your claim:
- Social Security number and proof of age for each person who is applying – this includes you and your spouse and dependent children if they are also filing for benefits.
- Contact information including name, address, phone number, and date treated for each of your doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.
- List of all medications you are taking.
- Copies of medical records from all your health care providers related to your disability, including test results – if you don’t already have these, request them from your doctor or hospital.
- Work history for the past 15 years, including job description.
- Copies of your W-2 forms – or federal tax returns if you were self-employed.
After you have filled out the application form and submitted it with the proper documentation, your local Social Security office will review your non-disability eligibility. This means your work history and payments into Social Security if you are applying for Social Security Disability, or your income and resources if you are applying for Supplementary Security Income. At this stage, the office will also confirm the relationship between you and your spouse/children if they have also applied for benefits.
Once this initial stage has been completed, your application will be sent to the Disability Determination Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. This group evaluates your application to determine your disability status – your claim will be reviewed by a medical doctor or psychologist (if the disability is mental) and a disability evaluation specialist. They may also order what is called a consultative examination from another doctor. A consultative examination is ordered when you haven’t provided some necessary piece of information that the Disability Determination Division wants to see.
These examinations may or may not help your claim, depending upon the doctor and numerous factors. Your best bet is to provide all the information they need up front, but sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate what additional evidence they will request. Refusing the consultative examination will automatically deny your claim – although an attorney familiar with disability claims can help.
Making a Determination
Currently in South Carolina, getting through Disability Determination takes around 4-6 months, and many eligible people become discouraged and give up when their initial claims are rejected. However, it’s important to realize that a huge percentage of disability claims are denied on the first round. If you or a loved one is eligible for disability, don’t let the process intimidate you or prevent you from seeking assistance that you need.
Disability assistance is available to help you and your family, if you understand your rights and your qualifications to receive benefits. If your claim for disability has been rejected, contact the South Carolina Social Security attorneys at Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible. We can help get the process moving quickly and preserve your right to an appeal. Because we’ve represented injured South Carolinians in government and court proceedings since 1959, we understand how to get you the best possible result.
Getting Disability Legal Help
For a free evaluation of your Social Security case, call the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out the confidential online consultation form. We can help residents of Columbia, Orangeburg, Lexington, Aiken, Sumter, Charleston, Irmo, Myrtle Beach, Richland County, Rock Hill and across South Carolina get the benefits they deserve.