What Evidence Will I Need To Provide To Support My Claim
You can help to support your VA disability claim by providing documents, such as:
- VA medical records and hospital records that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your rated disability has gotten worse
- Private medical records and hospital reports that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your disability has gotten worse
- Supporting statements youd like to provide from family members, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, or those you served with that can tell us more about your claimed condition and how and when it happened or how it got worse
Depending on the type of claim you file, you may gather supporting documents yourself, or you can ask for our help to gather evidence.
Well also review your discharge papers and service treatment records.
Please note: You dont have to submit any evidence to support your claim, but we may need to schedule a claim exam so we can learn more about your condition.
You should also know that you have up to a year from the date we receive your claim to turn in any evidence. If you start your application and need time to gather more supporting documents, you can save your application and come back later to finish it. Well recognize the date you started your application as your date of claim as long as you complete it within 365 days.
You Can Also File A Disability Claim:
File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits .
Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help filing a claim for disability compensation.
How Is A Social Security Lawyer Paid
A disability lawyer is not paid unless your case has been approved by the SSA. When this happens and you have started to receive your disability benefit payments your lawyer will then be rewarded. There is a limit set for a lawyers payment and thats $6,000 or 25% of your back pay. So you dont need to worry about paying upfront fees to a social security lawyer until your claim has been successful.
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How Do I Know If My Disability Tax Credits Have Been Claimed
You can always access your CRA account to check if you have claimed or been claiming Disability Tax Credit or alternatively your accountant can check that for you if you are not accessible to your CRA account. In your online CRA account check your past year Income Tax Report for Line 316 , Line 318 or Line 326 .
Who We Are And What We Do
Disability Determination Services is an agency of the state of Alaska. Under Social Security regulations, the DDS disability specialists, contract physicians, and psychologists determine eligibility of Alaskan applicants for two disability programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Security Income
The Alaskan DDS has one branch office, located in Anchorage, AK, to serve disability applicants of Alaska. Anchorage’s Disability Determination Services employs 32 people and receives over 100 new claims each week. The following claims are processed in the Anchorage DDS:
- Initial Applications
- Continuing Disability Reviews: Periodic reviews to determine if those who are on benefits still qualify.
- Disability Hearings: Face to face informal hearings as part of the appeal of Continuing Disability Review cessation
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Apply Online For Disability Benefits
Social Security offers an online disability application you can complete at your convenience. Apply from the comfort of your home or any location at a time most convenient for you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death: and
- Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied for medical reasons, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the medical determination we made.
- Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist.
It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
We suggest that you have the following information at hand. It will make completing the application much easier.
Information About You
Information About Your Medical Condition
Information About Your Work
We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Mailing Your Documents
After we receive your online application, we will:
If You Run Out Of Paid Leave
Depending on your circumstances, you may request that sick leave credits be advanced to you to cover the period of your absence. This type of leave request is covered to the limit prescribed in your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.
You may also request leave without pay for illness or injury. Refer to Appendix B of the Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements for additional information.
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The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet some for disability benefits.
- We check whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This State agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you are disabled, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed
Look For Our Response
Youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal mySocial Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appeal A Decision
In Order To Receive Disability Benefits Is It Required That I Be Confined To A Hospital
No, hospital stays are not a factor in assessing the legitimacy of your disability claim as many medical conditions do not require long stays as treatment can be done at home or by professionals in other facilities.What does it mean if my policy says that I must be completely disabled in order to qualify for benefits?If in your policy it says that you must be completely disabled or have a total disability there may be a specified meaning according to your policy, usually in a definition section of the policy. Generally, it means that you are reasonably unable to carry out the normal functions of your usual job. It does not mean that you are physically unable to carry out the tasks of your job. Instead it means that in order to recover from your medical condition it is better for your health if you do not work.
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How Long Will It Take
The SSA can take three to six months to determine if you meet their disability qualifications. At that time, they will notify you on whether youve been approved or if your application has been rejected.
If your application is rejected, dont lose hope. Many, if not most, disability applications are denied the first time. However, once an application is denied, you have a short window of time to file an appeal. You should consider hiring a lawyer who is experienced with disability claims.
In fact, you may want to contact one early in the process to help improve your odds of a quick approval. A lawyer is well versed with some of the most common causes of initial rejections and can help you take a proactive approach to filing for disability.
Social Security Disability Benefits: An Overview
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:
Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI provides disability benefits to blind or disabled individuals who are insured based on federal insurance contributions paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. Certain family members can also receive benefits based on a worker’s contributions.Supplemental Security Income SSI provides benefits to individuals who are disabled, blind or elderly, with limited income and resources, including children under age 18, who are disabled, blind or elderly.
The medical requirements that determine who is eligible for disability payments are the same under both programs. Under the Social Security system, disability payments are based on inability to work. Individuals are considered “disabled” if they are unable to do any kind of work and their disabilities are expected to last for at least twelve months or result in death.
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You Can Still File A Claim And Apply For Benefits During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Get the latest information about in-person services, claim exams, extensions, paperwork, decision reviews and appeals, and how best to contact us during this time.
- Find out if youre eligible for VA disability compensation
- Gather any evidence youll submit yourself when you file your VA disability claim.
- Be sure your claim is filled out completely and you have all the supporting documents ready to send in along with your claim. This will help us process your claim quickly.
Make A Plan For Transitioning From Employment To Sick Leave
Once you have your doctors support, you can start the transition from employment to being on sick leave. It is important that you carefully manage this transition to protect your employment, your workplace pension, and your group medical plan.It is common for there to be tension between you and your employer in the months leading up to you going on a sick leave. Some employers are not friendly or understanding to employees who are ill and disabled. For this reason, its important to get your doctor to write a note for your employer to confirm that your illness and disability are the reasons for your poor work performance and/or your need to take a sick leave from work.Some employers will pressure you into resigning or to accept a severance package. This may seem like a good idea, but if you sign off on that deal theres a good chance youre also signing off on your right to make a claim for long-term disability benefits! This is almost always in the fine print, and the money you get from the severance will pale in comparison to what you would receive from disability benefits. Dont retire from employment. You may be eligible for early retirement, but most disability insurance plans have a clause that says they dont have to pay you if you retire. This is mistake you absolutely must avoid.
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Understand Your Short Term Disability Coverage
Before you apply for Short Term Disability, its important that you understand your insurance coverage. If you are offered group disability coverage through your employer, contact your Plan The administrator or Human Resource staff to help understand the extent of the coverage, or consult your benefits booklet. In case your employer does provide this coverage, you will be required to make your claim through the group plan.
Although your employer does not offer short term disability coverage as part of their group plan, you may be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. For more information on whether you qualify for EI, check out the government of Canadas website here.
Other elements of your coverage that are important to understanding are your coverage amounts, which relate to how much benefit you will receive and how often. You will also want to know when you will start receiving the benefit if the benefit is taxable, and if your plan covers the third party claims management service like the Disability Management Institute as do most plans at GroupHEALTH.
Adults Disabled Before Age 22
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The disabled “adult child” including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
It is not necessary that the disabled “adult child” ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
- A disabled “adult child” must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider “substantial” increases each year. In 2021, this means working and earning more than $1,310 a month.
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Lack Of Medical Diagnosis
You cannot receive disability benefits without some sort of medical record documenting your condition. It is best to have a concrete diagnosis before you apply for disability. A general “I just don’t feel well” or “my lower back hurts all the time” will not get you very far. If you really are feeling so sick that you cannot keep working, you should be seeking medical treatment anyway, because there may be a treatment that would allow you to keep working.
Some conditions are much harder to diagnose than others. Multiple sclerosis and lupus are two perfect examples. You could have doctors arguing about whether or not you have MS for years. In those cases, it can be difficult to get disability benefits, but at least you still have medical records that document your symptoms and show any testing and treatments that you’ve tried. Once you realize that you are not improving and cannot see going back to work in the next several months, it is a good idea to apply for disability benefits even without a diagnosis.
Disability And Leaving The Public Service
You should immediately notify your manager if your physician has certified that your illness is continuing and you are unable to return to work. Your manager may grant you leave without pay for a period sufficient to enable you to make the necessary adjustments and preparation for separation from the public service.
Refer to Appendix B of the Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements for additional information.
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Whether You Meet A Disability Listing
The SSA outlines a number of conditions that, if all the criteria are met, are eligible for automatic approval. These conditions are known as “listings.” If your doctor thinks that your condition qualifies for automatic approval under a listing, the doctor should complete a listing form that explains his or her opinion and provide the appropriate medical documentation. Here is an example.
The claimant was diagnosed with skin cancer, specifically sarcoma. Sarcoma of the skin is eligible for automatic approval for benefits under the disability listing for cancers if the cancer has spread to, or beyond, the regional lymph nodes. A biopsy revealed that the claimant’s cancer had spread. To prove she met the listing requirements for sarcoma of the skin, the claimant provided the following information from her doctor.
- The pathology report that initially diagnosed the claimant with sarcoma of the skin.
- A surgical and pathology report that established that the sarcoma cells had spread to her lymph nodes.
Visit our section on disability listings for more information.
Fill Out The Application Forms And Gather Supporting Documents
Fill out the forms and gather all the supporting information and documents. Most disability programs have 2-3 forms to be filled out when making a disability claim. You fill one of the forms out. Usually, another form is a medical report for your doctor to fill out. With some disability plans short- and long-term disability, workers compensation there is also a form your employer needs to fill out.It is your responsibility to make sure the forms are filled out properly. Its very important that you review both your doctors report and the employers form for accuracy after they are filled out. Your doctor may inadvertently forget to mention one of your medical conditions your employer may give an inaccurate or incomplete description of your work duties.We see many people do a very poor job when making a disability claim. This is how legitimate disability claims get denied. The claim representative making a decision to approve or reject your application do so based on the qualify of the information and documents you have given, and not based on the reality of your situation as you know it.
You should read that sentence again. If you have done a poor job putting together your application, its very likely your claim will be denied, no matter how legitimate your disability.
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