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What disability evidence do I need for my benefits claim?

If you are disabled and unable to work, you will need money to support yourself until you are back on your feet again. For some Philadelphia residents, these benefits may last for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, though, the application process is not always easy. Even people with seemingly obvious disabilities have had their claims denied. If you want to file a claim for benefits with the Social Security Administration, then you will need to provide adequate evidence to prove your condition and how it renders you unable to work.

The evidence you provide must establish that you have a long-term disability and that your condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits. The SSA will consider both medical and non-medical evidence that shows your ability to complete the tasks required of you at work.

Medical evidence is the most important part of any disability claim. This evidence may include past medical records, but you might also have to arrange for a consultative examination. This examination is typically conducted by your own chosen medical provider, but it may also be conducted by an independent source provided by the SSA. This examination will address the symptoms and test results relating to your condition, your ability to function at work, and your prognosis. The SSA will also look into your daily activities and how your symptoms, medications, and treatments affect your everyday life.

Once the SSA is convinced that you are suffering from a long-term disability and are unable to work because of it, you will likely receive disability benefits. However, just because you have been awarded benefits now doesn't mean that you will continue to receive them indefinitely. The SSA conducts continuing eligibility reviews, typically after six to 18 months, to determine the status of your condition. If they determine that you are well enough to return to work, they will discontinue your benefits. Always be prepared to provide thorough medical reports and other evidence to prove that you require SSD benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Part II - Evidentiary Requirements," accessed June 27, 2017

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