If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability payments. These three tips can help you successfully apply.

1. Expect To Be Denied

About 70% of all first-time claims for Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are denied nationwide. Most claimants must file one or more appeals to get approved for benefits. Because the denial rate is so high, many applicants choose to work with disability lawyers in Iowa to improve their chances of being approved. To qualify for disability in Iowa, you must prove that you have a severe medical impairment that affects your ability to perform one or more work activities.

2. You Will Need Proof of Your Disability

Applicants must prove both the severity and duration of their injuries. To qualify, a person’s disability must have either lasted at least one year or be projected to last for at least one year. To prove this, you will need to submit medical records that include your diagnosis, history of treatment and the result of that treatment. If your medical records demonstrate that you have one or more conditions that meet the criteria of a listing in the Social Security Administration handbook, you may qualify. However, the criteria of these listings are difficult to meet and most cases are not approved this way.

3. You May Qualify Based on Your Work History

The majority of people approved for Social Security Disability are approved based on a comparison of their functional capacity to the type of work they have done. For this process, either a disability examiner or a disability judge will review your medical history and assign a residual functional capacity rating based on your ability to perform tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, reaching or lifting. The official will then review the jobs you have performed over the past 15 years to determine if you have the physical capability to continue doing that type of work. If the official decides that you can not, you may be awarded benefits, but only if the official does not decide that you are capable of doing a different kind of work. 

Because the process of getting approved for disability benefits can be lengthy and difficult, it may be useful to have legal representation. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the application and appeal process and gather evidence to prove your case.