Consider these five simple steps you can take to help move your claim through the Michigan Social Security disability appeals process:
1. Get organized.
Before you can be awarded Michigan Social Security disability benefits, you must complete the required paperwork and produce a substantial amount of supporting documentation, including your medical records, records from your past employers, and other evidence of your disability. All of this paper can quickly overwhelm you. As soon as possible, figure out an organizational system that makes sense to you, and stick with it.
2. Keep your records current.
The Michigan Social Security disability appeals process is a marathon, not a sprint, and you will need to reference your records throughout this process. Update your records regularly.
3. Monitor your symptoms.
The Social Security Administration wants to know how your symptoms – e.g., pain or shortness of breath – impact your daily activities. Keep track of your symptoms with a symptom diary.
4. File a timely appeal.
Nationally, and in Michigan, disability benefits applications are denied about 65% of the time. You have just 65 days from the date of your denial letter to file your appeal. If you miss this deadline, you will have to start the Michigan disability benefits process over again, from the beginning, and may lose back benefits.
5. Expect that you will have to testify at a hearing, and plan ahead.
Most applicants are awarded Michigan Social Security disability benefits only after filing two appeals (a request for reconsideration and a request for hearing) and testifying at a hearing. Educate yourself about the hearing process. Think about how your impairment limits your daily activities. Make a list of things you can no longer do because of your disability; things you can only do with assistance; and witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
If you would like more practical advice on appealing a denial of your claim for Michigan Social Security disability benefits, please complete the claim evaluation form to your right or contact me directly.