Disability Pointers [2010-08-16]
By: Jeremy J. Swick
This guide will layout the top 3 tips to prepare and win your Social Security Disability case.
Hire an Attorney
While it is true that an individual can apply and win their Disability on their own, it is helpful to have an experienced Disability attorney develop and argue your case. Attorneys are not necessary prior to being denied by Social Security for benefits, but become a useful ally when fighting your appeal. Experience is what it is all about. The attorney will evaluate your case and be able to identify the winning strategy quickly. Often the earlier the attorney is involved the better, but you can retain an attorney right up until the hearing. Remeber the Judges are attorneys as well and they often like to hear that persuasive legal argument at the close of your case.
Medical Records! Medical Records! Medical Records!
This cannot be emphasized enough, GET MEDICAL RECORDS. This seems to be obvious, but many claimants have severe limitations and little medical documentation. This is often because of lack of insurance/money for medical care. The most important thing a Social Security Judge looks at is the medical record. You can tell the Judge you are in pain 24/7 and it is a level 10 out of 10, but without a doctor's report explaining where this pain is stemming from your case is much much weaker. If you don't have insurance, you need an attorney or social worker to help you find free or low cost medical care to document your medical condition. REMEMBER, no medical records means NO RECOVERY.
Truth and Honesty
When people are hurt and without work it is often a desperate time. Most will have issues with how to support themselves and care for their family. This can lead to individuals overstating their limitations or disability. You must fight the urge to do so. Most Social Security Judges have seen thousands of cases and know the medical jargon as well as most doctors do. It is true what your Dad always told you, Honesty is the best policy. If you exagerate or play act for the Judge, they will likely see right through you. You want the Judge's respect. Most Judge's are compassionate people who just wish to apply the rules evenly. If you are genuine and respectful it will benefit your case greatly.
In this day and age, many people who are rightfully disabled are turned down for benefits. Many times it is about having someone help you develop your case and provide the correct records to Social Security to win your case. Hopefully these 3 tips help you along the way.