1. Be ready for your disability application before the process even starts. Interviews with claims representatives at field offices can be intimidating and a little nerve-wracking. Be sure you know what disabilities you are alleging, the date you claim you became disabled, and the names, addresses and phone numbers for all of your doctors and other healthcare providers.
2. Getting your medical records together yourself is likely to help jumpstart your case. You may consider getting your medical records together and submitting them when you apply for disability to avoid the delay that follows when Social Security requests them.
3. Get your pain symptoms on record so that Social Security can take this into consideration. If you have pain, absolutely mention it when you apply and get it included as part of your disability application. Be clear and specific about where you have pain and how it limits you.
4. Never minimize your pain or other symptoms. Describe how your symptoms affect your ability to do normal daily activities. Likewise, do not exaggerate your pain or other limitations.
5. Always list every one of your medical conditions, physical or mental. Disability cases are complex. It is often the combination of conditions which results in a favorable ruling.
6. Symptoms alone are not enough to win. Your medical records must show an objective medical reason for the symptoms you have. If you do not have a doctor or if your doctor is not helping you, you may want to find another doctor.
7. Be sure you tell your doctor all about your situation so that your medical records include details of your limitations. A doctor who does not record observations and has no support for his opinion, is not persuasive. Try to build a strong relationship with your doctor.
8. Strengthen your disability case by providing the details of your work history. Social Security looks at all the jobs you have had in the past 15 years to see if you can do any of them again.
9. Be sure to provide treatment information as far back as you can recall. Make sure to do this at least as far back as you are alleging that your condition, or conditions, began to affect your functioning and cause you to be unable to work.
10. It is important to mention any mental conditions along with the physical impairment you have. Your mental condition may eliminate jobs that require you to stay on task, concentrate, perform complex tasks, remember instructions, etc.
11. Decisional notices are just one of several reasons that you should always tell Social Security your current mailing address. If you move while you are awaiting a decision, you should notify both the disability examiner working on your case and the local Social Security office where you began your claim, as well as your attorney’s office.
12. A Social Security medical examination usually offers little to your case – nonetheless, do not miss an appointment. Remember it is a tool used by the Social Security disability agency to close cases (deny claims) rather than to help you receive benefits. Be sure to tell this doctor the things which you feel make you disabled.
Affleck and Gordon, P.C.
Attorneys and Counselors at Law