The process of seeking Social Security disability benefits is a long and complex one. You start the process by sending an application to the Social Security Administration (SSA) when seeking these benefits. The first interaction you have with the agency is at the preliminary interview.
The interview is typically conducted over the phone and lasts about an hour. Alternatively, you may be invited to come to the local Social Security office for an in-person interview. In both cases, you will be informed by SSA about a specific interview date in advance so that you can plan ahead. If traveling is a problem for you or the nearest SSA office is too far, you will likely be scheduled for a phone interview.
It is imperative that you don’t miss the interview or your chances of receiving disability benefits will be significantly reduced.
How the Interview Works?
The interview is basically the stage where a representative from SSA verifies the facts of your claim. So you can expect the representative to ask you about your work history, educational background, medical history, and so on.
When questioning you about your medical history, the representative will probe you about the medical treatment you have received, the nature of your medical problems, your treating doctors, and other relevant details. You will also be asked about the nature and duration of the jobs you have performed in the past 15 to 20 years.
The claims representative will further inquire about your family, spouse, children, and other dependents. You will also be asked to recount your assets or any other sources of income that you have.
Preparing for the Interview
The interview is all about providing the relevant facts and information to the SSA representative. In most cases, SSA will send you a form to fill out as an applicant. You can then use this form to provide the necessary information over the phone or in-person.
Even if you didn’t receive a form, you can make things a lot easier by jotting down all the relevant information. This should include things like the name, location, and contact information of your treating doctors, the names, addresses, and contact details of your employers, the start and end dates of your previous jobs, and so on.
You should also note all the medications you have previously taken and are not taking for your medical condition. If you already have all these details at hand, you can go into the interview with more confidence. You can further use these disability interview tips from SSA.
During the Interview
As noted above, it is absolutely essential that you make your appointment and give the interview at the set time and hour. It also helps to leave a good impression on the claims representative who will be conducting the interview. To this end, you should:
- Stick to the truth: Do not exaggerate or extrapolate your symptoms. Simply state the facts as reflected by the available evidence. You can be as detailed as possible, as long as you don’t veer away from the facts.
- Dress well: A neat and tidy formal dress leaves a good impression. It also hints that you have been actually working in the past.
- Be clear and concise: The claims representative will ask you specific questions and expect specific answers to them. Make sure you are clear and concise when giving your answers. If you are not sure about something, simply say so instead of answering in a vague manner.
- Focus on your disability: The whole purpose of the interview is for the SSA to understand the nature, extent, and severity of your disability. The interview is not a time to speak about your other medical problems which are not directly related to the disability.
- Show a willingness to work: During the interview, let the SSA representative know that you wish to work and would work as soon as you disability allows you. This helps the representative understand that yours is a genuine claim.
Hiring a Social Security Attorney in Greenville SC
If you are planning to file a disability benefits claim or want to know if you qualify for the benefits, we can help you. Here at Robert Surface Law Firm, we help Social Security disability benefits applicants. We work with you to speed up the process of filing the claim, help you prepare for the interview, and stay on your side through the subsequent process. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.