Turned Down? Never Give Up!
I know you are facing an uphill battle.
The first battle
The Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to see an actual diagnosis in your file by a doctor or a mental health professional. SSA is not allowed to just take your word for what is wrong with you.
Many of you cannot even find out what is officially wrong with you or get the wrong diagnosis and the wrong treatment. You know you are sick but the doctor you see either does not believe you or your disease is so rare it will take you a long journey before you have an accurate diagnosis. Believe in yourself. You know yourself better than any medical professional does and you know when something just is not right.
Online research can be your friend or your enemy. You can worry yourself sick just by looking up all the possibilities of what could be wrong with you. On the other hand, the Internet can give you good questions to ask your doctor. My clients have had rare genetic disorders or things like Lyme's disease, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia that took years to be diagnosed correctly.
The second battle
Getting your complete file reviewed by SSA. What goes wrong:
1. You file online and the computer freezes, your Internet connection fails or the Social Security website is just in a bad mood that day. You think you filed your claim but the Social Security Administration says they never received it.
2. You have an in person interview to apply at your local Social Security office (which we recommend). Disability Determination Services in St. Paul sends you forms to fill out asking for the exact same information you already gave the local Social Security office. You get angry or frustrated and do not hand them in or only partially complete them because you think Social Security knows all of that information already.
3. You failed to keep copies of anything you mail to Social Security. Your forms get lost on someone's desk and you have no way of proving you sent them in. If Social Security believes you and resends you the set of forms to complete, you worry because you do not remember what you said the first time. Always keep copies. Any time you talk to Social Security, write down the name of the person and their extension number.
The third battle
Making yourself keep going until at least the ALJ hearing. About 30% of people applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are approved if they tell SSA their whole story. Tell your whole story. At the second level, Reconsideration, less than 10% win. Both times, a Disability Examiner reads your file and denies your claim. The third level, a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), is your best chance. You get to tell your story in person.
An experienced disability lawyer, like me, can increase your chances at each of these levels. My help is especially important for the ALJ hearing.
Today with the huge backlog, it will take two years or more from the day you apply until the day you get a decision from an Administrative Law Judge. Giving up and starting over later moves your file to the back of the line.