If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits and are now awaiting a decision on your claim, you may be facing some serious challenges. Often times it can take years to be awarded benefits, if at all, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to provide proof that you are disabled and that your condition will last for at least 12 months. Therefore, to properly support your claim throughout the process, you must receive ongoing medical treatment for your disability and follow your doctor’s treatment plan as prescribed.
We recognize that since you are not able to work, you likely do not have health insurance to cover or offset the cost of ongoing medical treatment and prescription drugs. However, the SSA does not consider your lack of resources when evaluating your claim, nor does it provide financial assistance during the waiting period. Without current medical records, the SSA will likely deny your request for benefits.
How to Support Your Disability Claim without Health Insurance
When you don’t have health insurance and cannot afford care, you can look into other options for compensation that might cover your medical needs. For example, if you were injured on the job, you can file for workers’ compensation, which covers medical care. Similarly, if you were injured in an accident, filing a negligence claim might be an option. Be aware that filing other claims can impact the outcome of your Social Security disability claim. We recommend speaking with an experienced disability attorney before proceeding.
You might want to look for free or low-cost healthcare providers in your area. Hospital emergency rooms and some clinics offer services for free or on a sliding scale. For example, Crisis Control Ministry offers help paying for prescriptions for those in financial need, and Surry Medical Ministries Clinic in Mount Airy offers free medical care for those who are uninsured. For information about need-based medical and mental health care in Winston-Salem, you can contact a hospital administrator or call our office for references.
Selecting a Doctor to Treat Your Disability
You will want to see a doctor at least once every three months while awaiting the SSA’s decision. This way, you will establish a demonstrable paper trail that shows your disability is genuine.
The SSA will give a lot of weight to your treating doctor’s input when determining the outcome of your case. You will want to make sure your physician or mental health care provider is not only qualified, but also sympathetic and supportive of your disability case. You will want to select a doctor who doesn’t have a significant patient load. This way, he or she won’t mind completing tasks such as filling out SSA forms or writing testimonial letters about your condition.
To increase the likelihood of winning disability benefits, your doctor should provide a detailed, advocative letter that contains the following information:
- A detailed diagnosis;
- Details about your physical or mental restrictions, e.g., an inability to walk, sit for long periods, bend, crouch, etc.;
- Your prognosis, including how long your condition is expected to last; and
- Your recommended treatment plan.
For help with your SSDI or SSI claim, request a free consultation with a disability attorney at Patton Brown Law today at 855-860-2150.