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If you think you are eligible for healthcare resources based on a disability, be sure you get an official determination from the social security administration. You can find the closest Social Security Office near you by going to www.ssa.gov or you can complete an application online at www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits. The process of determining disability may be difficult and lengthy; however, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR), which is an association of attorneys who are experts on the disability determination process, can help you out with this process and maybe even for free at www.nosscr.org. If you can prove that there is a likelihood that you will be determined to be disabled, such as a terminal illness, make sure to ask to for a presumptive disability application. This will speed up the process and the Social Security Administration can provide Social Security Insurance benefits for up to six months. If you are denied at first and appeal your case, you might eventually win, but it may take a few years and multiple levels of appeals.
In order to expedite the process be sure to document the following (clear documentation is a must):
• Disability onset date – give the earliest date that you became unable to work because of your medical condition.
• Obtain copies of you medial record from your physicians
• Keep a healthcare journal – record all medications you take, you medical symptoms, when you visit the doctor and the outcome of each visit to the doctor. Document dates of every time you feel sick, encounter other health problems, or feel depressed and how long each of these lasts.
• A complete Social Security Administration application
There are different types of disability plans, so be sure you do your research and find out exactly what is available in your state. The National Disability Rights Network at www.ndrn.org may be able to provide you with some of this information as well as inform you about the protection and advocacy programs in your state. This is a federally funded network that seeks to ensure that federal, state, and local laws are fully implemented to protect people with disabilities. Many of these programs also assist people with disabilities in accessing Medicaid.