When it comes to disabilities that prevent you from working, there’s no shortage of difficulties and setbacks that can arise. Medical bills can pile up, rehabilitation can take months or even years, and of course the emotional strain it can put on you and your loved ones.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability even when you are truly disabled and unfit to work. If you’ve been denied disability and are interested in an appeal, take a moment to review our seven tips for the Social Security process.
Should I Apply?
If you have a physical or mental disability that is severe and your condition limits your activities of daily living and your disability has lasted longer than twelve months and your doctor agrees with this assessment, you should apply for social security disability.
Social Security has a strict definition of disability that ignores many real life aspects of the job market. Difficulty finding a job, thinking that no one will hire you with your condition, believing you cannot pass a job requirement physical, or even knowing that the pay you would receive for the work you can do is too little to live on, etc. are all real world considerations that do no matter to the social security administration when evaluating your claim for benefits.
What Does Matter
As is the case with most legal claims, what counts in disability evaluations is what you can prove. If no medical record exist to support your claim of disability, you are unlikely to be successful. Social security figures that if your medical condition is severe enough to keep you from working, than it should justify doctor visits, tests, diagnosis, and treatment.
Keep Good Records
Without medical records, you are unlikely to remember the date of every doctor visit, diagnostic test, medication, and therapy received. You should obtain the business card of every doctor you see and keep them in a safe place. It is also a good idea to keep a list of your medication, the dosage, the reason for taking it, and any side effects.
SSA does not expect you to be an expert on medical conditions. What SSA wants to receive from you are details about your symptoms. For example, how severe is your pain? Is it constant or intermittent? What aggravates your pain? What reduces it? No one knows your symptoms better than you. Do your best to explain them in detail without exaggerating or minimizing them. Do not omit or gloss over any lesser conditions just because you have one severe condition and several minor ones.
What Can’t You Do?
Sit for lengthy periods? Stand and walk? Lift and Carry? Bend, twist, kneel, and stoop? Manipulate objects with your hands? Remember the SSA will focus on your limitations rather than your diagnosis.
Effect of Symptoms and Limitations
How does your medical condition affect your daily activities? Tell social security about the impact on your personal car (hygiene, dressing, bathing, errands, and housework), physical needs (driving, shopping, cleaning), and social functioning (hobbies, sports, interaction with friends and family).
Make sure that when you are listing your past employment that you are very specific in detailing the job duties and requirements. Make sure you adequately and correctly describe the physical demands required by each of your past employers.
It is important that you make every effort to be accurate and honest in your responses to the Social Security Administration. Contradictions, errors, memory lapses, and discrepancies all work to erode your credibility, and nothing will sink your claim faster than questions about your truthfulness.
If you’re denied…
If your claim has been denied, our team is eager to help guide you through the process. We can help claimants by:
- Filing your Request for Hearing (Appeal)
- Coming up with a winning theory
- Obtaining medical support to prepare for your hearing
- Presenting a persuasive case
When you deal with Gray, Sowle & Iacco you will only have attorneys handling your case, unlike some national social security firms who use non-attorneys to do the work. Unlike national firms, the first time you meet the attorney will not be the day of your hearing. We will make it a point to have direct personal contact with you and always schedule a final meeting in advance of your hearing with the Social Security Administrative Law Judge.
If you or a loved one is interested in pursuing a Social Security case and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, click here for a free case evaluation.