Question #47: How important is a patient's doctor in the process? Are they important in providing letters etc, or are medical records simply accessed?David Bueltemann: Doctors are important at every level of the process and their opinions are especially important at the higher levels of appeal.
Question #48: Would a severely handicapped child (now 13) be eligible for any benefits. The child suffers from cerebral palsy and the father is the only one working and they say he makes too much but yet medical expense is atrocious?David Bueltemann: He would not be eligible through the SSDI program.
Question #49: Because it is the parent who must be eligible, correct?David Bueltemann: Correct.
Question #50: Would the child be elgible for SSI?David Bueltemann: The father's income would be a factor. SSI is means based.
Question #51: If someone does not have well-documented medical records do they have a tougher time? What can they do to improve their chances?David Bueltemann: Medical documentation is extremely important in the process. SSA may decide to send the claimant on a consultative examination to help gather information for their decision.
Question #52: To their own doctors? To a doctor chosen by SSA I meant.David Bueltemann: Ordinarily not.
Question #53: Are SSA doctors specialists in the claimants particular problem? Would someone with RA be sent to a board certified rheumatologist?David Bueltemann: Not necessarily.
Question #54: All physical evidence is considered, correct? X-rays, lab results, surgeries?David Bueltemann: Correct. All medical evidence is considered.
Question #55: Must a person have actually stopped working in order to apply?David Bueltemann: Yes.
Question #56: Would statements from your employers help (i.e. documented difficulties in performing your job)?David Bueltemann: Yes.
Question #57: What is Allsup's success rate on initial applications?David Bueltemann: Allsup's success rate is about 55% at the first level, compared to the overall success rate of 35%. We want to emphasis the importance of staying in the process and taking advantage of all appeals.
Question #58: It is imperative not to be stopped by frustration then?David Bueltemann: Absolutely!
Question #59: Are there any states that are better or worse when applying or appealing? Do some states take a ridiculous amount of time to decide?David Bueltemann: Yes. Award rates and processing times vary widely across the country.
Question #60: What can a person expect when he or she goes before a judge?Carol Eustice: This article will let you know what to expect at a hearing and how to prepare. See Preparing for Your Day in Court.
Question #61: Where can I get more information about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?David Bueltemann: We provide a special website, AllsupPlace.com, with more information about SSDI for visitors and customers of Allsup. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to chat and answer some very good questions. Anyone needing more information can call (800)279-4357 or visit www.allsup.com.
Source: Chat transcript (edited)- Host Carol Eustice with David Bueltemann from Allsup Inc. Updated 6/23/2010