Applying for Social Security Disability: What to Do to Make a Strong Case
Submitting a Social Security Disability application and going through the claims process can be a challenging task for anyone, let alone someone who is ill and disabled. This is because the Social Security Administration has set policies and procedures in place that strictly guide how a claim is processed and evaluated.
Contrary to what you may think, many disabled individuals try to fight for Social Security benefits alone, without legal representation from an attorney. What’s worse, is that they often “go into battle” unprepared, not knowing what to say or how to prove that they are indeed disabled. This is a truly unfortunate circumstance, especially when justly disabled people get denied for benefits when maybe they could have said or done a few things differently.
Although there is no particular tip that can guarantee an individual approval for Social Security Disability benefits, there are some ways to help make your case stronger, whether you seek out legal representation from a lawyer or choose to do it alone:
Gain support from your doctor
It is crucial that your physician supports your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. They are the one that has been treating you directly for your disabling condition and they can give credit to your physical expectations and limitations. Lack of a medical diagnosis backing up your disability can often be the reason you get denied.
One advantage to hiring a Social Security Disability attorney to represent your claim is that they can order your doctor to complete a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment form. This is a form that can be filled out by your treating physician that states, point by point, the details and limitations of your disability. For example, this form will include questions such as how much you can lift and for how long can you stand or sit during a given period. Having your doctor fill out this form can help you develop the medical evidence necessary to win your case.
It is important to realize that, although getting supportive medical treatment can make your case for disability stronger, receiving consistent, supportive medical care is even better. This simply means tostick with one or two physicians and don’t skip out on any appointments!
Focus on your limitations
The Social Security Administration often judges an individual as being truly disabled by the limitations they have as a result of their disability. Instead of emphasizing the general medical diagnosis given to you by your doctor, focus on communicating to the administration how your disability limits you to do certain things, and how these limitations affect your ability to continue working.
There are three main types of limitations that can result from a disability:
- Postural – Physical limitations such as experiencing difficulty with balance, problems with sitting and/or standing too long and difficulty reaching for and/or handling objects.
- Environmental – Limitations concerning your surroundings, such as having difficulty being exposed to certain temperatures.
- Mental – Limitations concerning your mental state, such as having difficulty understanding instructions or concentrating for certain periods of time.
Give complete information
From the time you first apply for Social Security Disability benefits to when you are talking to a judge in a hearing, always give complete information regarding your disability. Make sure that the Social Security Administration is aware of all the medical providers treating you and how to contact them. Also, inform the administration (and your doctors) of any and all medical ailments you have. This includes both physical and mental conditions. The administration is required to consider all of your medical conditions, individually and in combination, to determine whether you are disabled.
Understand the Social Security Administration Process
Although hiring an attorney can greatly help an individual successfully receive disability benefits, it is important for everyone filing a Social Security Disability claim to know and understand how the process works. Knowing what’s expected of you right from the beginning can help to increase your chances of receiving benefits, not to mention save you time and frustration if “issues” occur.
Along with understanding the process of filing for Social Security Disability benefits, it also proves important to know and understand the administration’s language. The government has adopted and continues to reinvent a system filled with acronyms and numbers. In order to communicate effectively with them, you must learn what they are (and will be) saying!
Filing for Social Security Disability benefits doesn’t have to be intimidating, and it sure doesn’t have to be straining on someone who is already suffering from a disability. If you or someone you love would like more information on Social Security Disability, please contact the Flagler County personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra for your free consultation.
The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & ZIffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.