Biggest Mistakes Claimant's Make #2

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Pre-filing Preparation. The decision about when to file depends in large part on your present financial circumstances. Typical logic: The sooner you file; the sooner you finish; the sooner you get your money. However, that assumes that when you file you have what you need and you can get it to the right place. Almost all claimant who comes to me after their initial application is denied is shocked to discover that not all of the records that they submitted were considered by the person making the decision. (That person in an Analyst. See Big Mistake #1 for more infomration.) After about a decade doing this work, I am no longer surprised by much of anything the SSA does or does not do. I have come to believe that we must assume the Analyst has none of the records we want them to have unless we have confirmation directly from the Analyst. People who file on their own, take medical records down to the local field office (See Big Mistakes #3: Who are these guys?) and "file it" - which really means they drop it [the records] off and hope the person who they give it to, in turn, then gets it to the Analyst. One thing they almost never do is get a receipt from the person they hand the documents to. Thus, there is no record - no way to prove - that the documents actually were delivered. About 30% of the documents my staff personally deliveres never get where they are supposed to go. We have a receipt to show them they made a mistake - but, the receipt just shows the mistake. It doesn't fix the problem. So, we have to take it down there again - and - keep checking to make sure it gets done. To make sure your records were received, you need to talk to the Analyst. To do that, look at the cover letter that comes with your questionnaires. (See Big Mistakes #1) At the top, near your name, you will see "DDS Case Number:" and then six or so numbers. At the very bottom, you will see the Analysts name, or initials. (Note: If it says: "Shelf" it's not a person. It means your file is on the shelf waiting to be assigned to an Analyst.) In the paragraph above that, will be a phone number which may or may not have an extension. Either way, that phone number will get you to your actual Analyst. Chances are good that you will be asked to leave a message. Chances are about 10% the voice mailbox will be full. There is usually an alternate number given in the voice mail. Do whatever it takes to leave a message. In my experience, the Analysts are knowledgable, professional, helpful - and, actually care. Contrary to popular belief, the Analysts would be happy to approve your case. They are particularly happy if you are able to help them. They will want to know if you submitted 100 pages of medical records when you filed. The law requires the Analysts to try to get all of your medical records. But think about it. Doctors and hospitals aren't the easiest to deal with. What happens if the Analyst doesn't get a response from a doctor or hospital? After 30 days of no reply, they are required to follow up with a second request. At that point, they can only wait two weeks further. If they don't get the records by then, I can almost guarantee you that the next letter you get will start with, "Based on the evidence we have, you are not disabled under our rules," or something close. See Big Mistakes #3 to learn more about who's who in SSA.

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