One great benefit of obtaining SSDI benefits is gaining medical insurance coverage through the Medicare program. However, one of the ironies of the SSDI application process is that you really need to have insurance to prove your SSDI claim and to gain insurance through Medicare. Of course, because most people gain insurance through work, and by definition you cannot be working and apply for SSDI, many people applying for benefits do not have insurance, cannot get medical treatment, and therefore cannot gather sufficient medical evidence to support their claim.

In order to be eligible for social security benefits, one must be disabled. By definition, disability is defined as the inability to engage in substantial gainful employment due to “any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”  42 U.S.C. secs. 423(d)(1)(A) & 1382c(a)(3)A). Medical support, which comes primarily from medical documentation, helps to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration the severity of your impairment. Moreover, Social Security regulations require that you demonstrate that despite medical treatment your impairment persists.

However, until certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act become effective in 2014, which will provide more affordable access to health insurance coverage for all Americans, many social security claimants will continue to face tough challenges when trying to prove their claim without the benefit of medical insurance. The strength of your social security claim will be based largely in part on the documentation and treatment of your impairment.

For those without insurance, all hope is not lost. As such, you should take full advantage of community resources to develop your claim. In communities throughout Wisconsin, there are free or low cost clinics that provide free basic health care and prescriptions. Gaining treatment through these clinics during the pendency of your appeal will, of course, benefit your health, but will also increase the likelihood of success for your appeal. At low cost clinics you may be able to pay for services based on your household income. You should work with your attorney to secure these free or reduced fee services so that you can continue to build your case. Below is a list, by location, of available resource.

Dane County: BSP Free Clinic , American Community Medical Center , MEDiC , Access Community Health Centers.

Milwaukee County: House of Peace Community Center , for a complete list of free or reduced fee clinics visit the Greater Milwaukee Free Clinic website for locations and hours of various free or reduced fee clinics in the greater Milwaukee area.

Sheboygan County: Red Shield Free Clinic.

Waukesha County: Lake Area Free Clinic.

For a listing of free or reduced fee clinics in other counties, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

If you would like assistance with your Social Security Disability Appeal, please contact one of Hawks Quindel S.C.’s experienced disability attorneys for a free consultation. We help individuals throughout the state of Wisconsin.

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David Zoeller