How Can I Speed Up My Social Security Benefits Case?

Because of life’s difficulties when you deal with an impairment everyday, it may seem like you’re award of social security benefits will never come. Therefore, you may wonder, “how can i speed up my social security case?” This page will discuss the top 3 methods you can use to speed up your Social Security Case.

1. Hiring a Disability Lawyer to Speed Up Your Social Security Case

The Social Security Administration is no place for you to represent yourself. The complexity of making a strong Social Security case requires a skilled and knowledgeable disability representative. Without one you are at risk for time delaying mistakes.

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2. Understanding What You Have To Prove

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not grant benefits based on how your life has changed because of your medical condition. They look at the The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation. The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation is a test used by the SSA to determine whether you are sufficiently disabled for both of the two types of Social Security disability benefits.

The evaluation is essentially five questions:

Are you unable to engage in substantially gainful activity?


Inability to engage in substantially gainful activity (SGA) means that your disability  will keep you from earning more than $1,170 a month for at least 12 months. You can continue the evaluation and become closer to your benefits if you have not worked, or you have made less than $1,170 and expect to not work or make less than $1,170 for at least 12 months.

Do you have a severe impairment?


Before you shout, “yes!”,your disability must be  determined by objective medical testing. The SSA won’t accept merely the opinion of a doctor. They want the doctor to perform objective diagnostic tests, such as MRI’s, blood tests, etc. that will prove that your impairment will keep you from doing basic work-related activities.

The SSA defines ‘severe’ impairment as one that significantly limits a person to perform at least one work-related activity such as:

  • Walking, sitting, standing, pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying
  • Hearing, speaking, and seeing
  • Understanding and following simple directions
  • Interacting with coworkers and supervisors, and adjusting to changes in the workplace

Do you meet a medical listing?


The medical listings come from a disability catalogue called the Listing of Impairments that categorizes medical problems by body system (digestive system, nervous system etc). The SSA will award you benefits automatically if you meet a medical listing.

However, if you don’t meet a medical listing, you won’t necessarily be disqualified.

Can you go back to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years?


You will be asked many questions about your job history and the work duties performed  within the last fifteen years. You must prove that your current restrictions and limitations prevent you from performing the lightest job you have held in the last fifteen years.

The SSA uses a book called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to categorize each job. The DOT contains a work description, required skill level, and the required exertional level for each job in the national economy. They will align the DOT information and your testimony to find the correct categorization for your work.

If not, Is there a job in the national economy you could do?


The jobs considered will depend on your age, education, and the skills acquired from past work. At Social Security hearings there are typically many suggestions of jobs that someone could potentially perform. The SSA relies on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles(DOT) In order to receive benefits you have to be able to show that you are not capable of any job suggested at the hearing.

3. What SSA Really Wants To Know

The real issues behind the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation are what your symptoms are and how they impact your ability to function. One way to do this in your Social Security case is to use a form call a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.

The best way to demonstrate physical or mental limitations clearly and objectively is to use an RFC form. An RFC form is a condition-specific questionnaire that allows your doctor to tell your story by explicitly quantifying your limitations. The SSA officials want to know what your functional limitation is as it applies to your capacity to return to work.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Consult with Us

Hiring a disability lawyer will take the pressure of off of your shoulders and allow you to focus on you. Your case is important, which means that you deserve a lawyer who is going to treat your case with care.

At Summit Disability Law Group, we treat our clients with compassion because we understand the difficulties that you and your loved ones experience. Because these difficulties are often complex, we offer a free consultation to help you understand the options available to you without the pressure of making a decision before you know what your options are.

To contact a qualified Utah-based Social Security disability attorney who can help you with your case give us a call or fill out a free disability case evaluation today. We have offices in Draper, Bountiful, and Orem to serve you wherever you live.

 

Image “Figure 1: SSA’s Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process for Determining Disability” copyright by U.S. Government Accountability Office.