Filing a claim for disability benefits in Virginia before the Social Security Administration or the Veteran’s Administration can be a tedious and confusing process. Unfortunately many disabled Virginians make serious errors at the early stage of the process that end up decreasing the amount of benefits that they receive, and in some cases prevent them from receiving any benefits at all. It is important to remember three things when filing disability claims.
1. File your claim as soon as you quit working, or if you are not currently working as soon as you become disabled. Often, both for Veterans benefits and some types of SSA disability benefits, you cannot get paid until the date that you file your application. This means that if you are disabled and are out of work for a time before you file for disability, and eventually your claim is approved, you may NOT receive benefits for the entire time that you were out of work before you filed your claim. This could mean a loss of thousands of dollars for you and your family. You may be jeopardizing benefits if you don’t file soon after you are disabled become unable to work.
2. Continue medical treatment for your disabling medical problems. It is important that you continue to receive and document the medical treatment that you are receiving, even if you lose your medical insurance. In many cases you can obtain free medical services through your local free clinic or regional hospital clinic. Make sure your doctor writes down your symptoms and problems, and explain to him how these symptoms affect your work around the house, your interactions with your family, and how you get around. These written records are crucial to the eventual success of your claim. Without written records explaining how your medical condition affects your functioning, you will be at a disadvantage when trying to prove your disability.
3. Contact an attorney to help you file your claim. Attorneys who represent you to the Social Security Administration and Veteran’s Administration generally are paid an attorney fee that is a percentage of your benefits if you win. This means that it doesn’t cost you any money up front to get help in filing and arguing your claim. An attorney can help you throughout the claim process from filing to appeal. They are trained and practiced at navigating the complex forms that must be filled out, gathering medical records and evaluations from medical providers, and arguing your case in front of an administrative decision maker or before a judge at the hearing. An attorney can even help you file an appeal if your claim is denied as long as you file an appeal in time.
Geraty, Holub & MacQueen, PLC are local Virginia attorneys specializing in disability law. Call 855-2VA-PAID to discuss your case, and get professional help in filing your claim and getting your disability benefits.
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