Applying for Social Security Disability can be complex and confusing. While some of the questions that are asked by the Social Security Administration are fairly straightforward, some parts are ambiguous and even tricky. Here are some tips to consider for filing a convincing social security application.
Give the Social Security Administration ALL your medical information: 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 quality and quantity of medical treatment you receive. Many times the government either will not or cannot obtain all your records. Write down where and when you receive treatment. Make sure that the government has everything. They cannot consider what they do not have.
Determine when your medical condition became disabling: The Social Security Administration will ask when your disability began. Think long and hard about this question. This is the date that the government will use to determine how much back pay you will get. Many people incorrectly write down the date they stopped working. In reality, the question is asking when your medical problems prevented you from working adequately. If you had to move to part-time or if you were experiencing significant absences, you should be sure to include this time period as part of your disability.
Tell the government about ALL your limitations: The government is supposed to consider the combined effect of your medical limitations. Not just the ones that are giving you the most trouble. Also, do not exaggerate or downplay your symptoms. The Social Security Administration will cross reference your complaints with your medical records. The more consistent you are with your medical treatment, the more credible you will be.
Be specific about your disability: Don’t just say “I can’t work because I am disabled” or “because of my back pain”. Try to explain how your medical problems make it hard for you to do basic job duties. Some examples might include the following:
- Problems with attendance because of bad days due to pain or depression
- Problems working with others.
- Problems with handling or holding objects.
- Problems dealing with stress or deadlines
- Problems concentrating or staying on task for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- Physical limits with sitting, standing, walking, or lifting.
Explain How Medical Problem Affects Your Work
Social security is interested in understanding how your medical problem affects your work. Do not talk about how outside factors such as the economy, becoming a risk to the company, your lack of experience, or your age.
Paint an accurate picture of your past work: One of the key stages in a social security case, especially if you are over the age of 50, is to describe your past relevant work. The government recognizes that it is extremely difficult for older individuals with a disability to find a job that is different than their trade. The government has established special rules to help people in these situations. If your disability prevents you from adequately doing portions of your past work, you HAVE TO describe your past work in a way that highlights the tasks that you cannot do anymore. After all, the inability to perform those job duties are probably some of the main reasons you decided to file for disability in the first place.
Turn in every government form and go to every appointment: When making an application, there are at least five separate forms that must be filled out. In addition, the Social Security Administration will often ask you to attend an independent consultative exam to have your medical condition evaluated. If you fail to perform any one of these forms or appointments, your case will be denied for noncompliance.
Explain how your condition has changed your life: The government will ask you to fill out a form to evaluate how your medical condition affects your day-to-day life. Essentially the government uses your answers on this form to see if the way you live your life is consistent with the impairments and limitations you are alleging. A lot of people make personal adjustments to their lives and fail to mention them in the report because they have found a way to “make due”. The question is not asking if you can make due; it is asking if you have limitations. If you dress slowly or it is painful to tie your shoe, write it down. If it is painful to wear a bra or belt, write it down. In sum, do not report “No Problem” unless you honestly have absolutely no problems.
Get help: In my experience, many people simply get overwhelmed by this process. Many applicants are under extreme pressure, both financially and medically. Then they are given a mountain of forms with questions that seem so repetitive and ambiguous. It is no wonder that so many applicants give answers that are less throughout, detailed, and specific. Having a law firm that can help with the workload and can explain what the questions are really asking and can help you fill them out in a way that is honest and persuasive will not only make a difference, it can make all the difference.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be frustrating. Some of the decision on who is granted benefits and who is not will often leave you scratching your head. However, by giving the government information that is more accurate, thorough, and detailed significantly improves your chances of getting the benefits you need.
Consult a San Antonio Disability Lawyer
If you are thinking about filing for disability, Call us at 210-880-9395 for a free consultation. We have helped thousands of individuals, just like you, obtain Social Security benefits. We would love to help you!