First, it cannot be overemphasized that it is never too early to seek professional legal help, especially from a qualified NY disability lawyer. Once your application and doctors letters are submitted, you are effectively bound by them. Legal advice you receive before you apply for benefits is often the most valuable. At this time a NY disability attorney can help you build a solid plan of attack for your application.
Second, the application forms should be filled out completely and carefully. If the forms are not typed, they should be filled in neatly. This is especially true of the forms completed by your doctors and employer. Before sending in the forms they should be proofread and a copy should be retained, as a NY disability attorney will explain.
Third, in addition to the form that your doctors fill out, it is advisable to have your doctor write a narrative report describing your disability. Your doctor’s letter(s) should contain the following: (1) a statement of your relevant medical history; (2) a statement confirming your diagnosis; (3) an explanation of your disease or injury; (4) an opinion as to whether you are totally disabled (this should be tied into how total disability is defined in your plan, i.e. your job or any job); (5) an explanation as to why you cannot do your job — explain how your specific symptoms prevent work; (6) cites to objective evidence in support of disability e.g., results of tests; and (7) a statement of your prognosis.
Fourth, you should gather literature about your illness and how it can be disabling. This is particularly true if you have a rare illness. Do not assume that the plan or insurance company knows the details of each type of illness. They often have to be educated. Sending in articles written by prestigious doctors and institutions can be helpful. These could be researched at your public library or on the Internet. Of course, a NY disability lawyer will be able to further advise you on how to use the specifics of this research to help educate your insurance company.