To win disability benefits (SSI or SSDI), Social Security must believe that your limitations stop you from being able to work full-time. There is no "best" type of case. Your chances of winning do go up significantly if you have a good medical history (or paper trail) from the time you are disabled. Also, the laws granting benefits are more favorable for people over the age of 50 who cannot do the type of work that they have previously done.
Here is what the examiners will look at:
- Medical Treatment: The kind of medical treatment you get is by far the number 1 factor in winning a disability claim. If I had to put a percentage on this, I would say 80% of the case depends on the medical treatment. The judges want to see medical treatment that is frequent, intense, and has continued over time.
- The more frequent your treatment is (every week or month as opposed to once a month or quarter) the more likely you will win.
- The more intense the treatment (surgery recommendations as opposed to general health and wellness checkups) the more likely you will win.
- The longer your condition lasts the more likely you will win. Is this a problem that lasted a few months and then got better? Or is this a problem that has been going on for several years?
- Note: Your chances of being approved increase when you have two or three together. Very intense treatment, that requires frequent follow up appointments and that it has been going on like that for several years.
- Work History: The judges love to see someone who has work history most of his or her life before becoming disabled. To the judge, this shows that the person wants to work when he or she physically/mentally able.
- Organization: Your case can only be as good as your preparation. You have to make sure that all the government deadlines are met, forms are filled out, and medical evidence is submitted on time. The judge cannot know the truth without these records.
- Honorable mention: Be honest. Do not overstate your limitations. Do not underestimate them. Share as much information as possible with both your doctors and your judge. If the truth is that you cannot work, then embrace it.