When you are disabled, unable to work, and it feels as though you are drowning in debt and unsure of what your next step should be, Carmichael Law Group can help. We understand your situation and we know exactly what to do to help you get your life back on track. That being said, there are many things you can do that will significantly increase your chances of receiving Social Security disability benefits. It is important that you “build your story” carefully to obtain a positive outcome. Your story will clearly show the adverse impact your condition has on your ability to work and your ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks.
You likely want to know how to win a SSD case—the highly experienced lawyers at Carmichael Law Group can guide you through the process! It can take a substantial amount of time to secure SS disability benefits. Since only about a third of all initial applicants are approved, the reconsideration and appeals stages are extremely important and should be planned for. Carmichael Law Group is a nationwide Social Security Disability law firm. We help people just like you in Alabama, and across the nation.
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General Tips for How to Win a SSD Case
It is extremely important not to wait to file for disability. If you are unable to work as a result of your disability, file for SSD as quickly as possible. The reason for this is that in most—but not all—cases, disability claims can take a long time to process. Few SSD applicants really understand just how long it can take to receive their benefits.
Next, understand the importance of hiring an experienced SSD attorney to help you get the disability benefits you need and deserve. While it is not mandatory that you have an attorney, it is certainly the wisest course of action if you want to receive disability benefits in the shortest amount of time possible. Having a knowledgeable SSD attorney is especially important during the appeals process.
Always take the medication your doctor has prescribed. Many applicants are shocked to find their claim was denied because they did not follow their doctor’s orders. Failing to follow prescribed treatments and take prescribed medications can have a significant bearing on the outcome of your disability claim.
Finally, always be cordial with those who are working on your case. Yes, the process can be frustrating, but even if you feel your case has been mishandled, losing your temper or being rude to a Social Security employee will never have a positive outcome. If you have an attorney from Carmichael Law Group handling your disability claim this will not be an issue, but if you are handling your own case, remember to always be polite to SS employees.
Why Medical Evidence is Crucial to Winning Your SSD Case
While there are basic requirements you must meet to file a claim for SS disability (work credits, income, resources), the most important component of your claim will be your medical evidence. Your disability will have to closely match a listing in the SSA’s listing of impairments, meaning your symptoms will closely align with the listed symptoms.
You must visit your doctor regularly since your claim will be evaluated on the basis of your medical records. This means you must have regular, ongoing medical treatment in the months and even years prior to filing for SSD benefits. Your medical treatment must align closely with the disability you are claiming, and you must be doing everything possible to improve your medical condition.
You must have a good history of seeing your doctor; if you are asking your doctor for a supporting statement for your SSD application and haven’t had a doctor’s appointment in a while, it is unlikely your physician will comply. The SSA is also less likely to believe your medical condition is severe enough to prevent you from working if you are not visiting the doctor on a regular basis.
If you are not seeing your physician at least every two months, you may have difficulty being approved for disability benefits. If you have lost your medical coverage prior to having your disability claim approved, try to be seen at a free clinic, your county health department, or even the ER. Bottom line—When you have a solid history of medical information that clearly supports your disability claim, you are much more likely to be approved for benefits.
How to Win an SSD Case—The Importance of Doctor and Witness Statements
As noted above, your medical records are a crucial part of your disability benefits application. A letter or statement from your doctor—known as a medical source statement—is equally important. Your medical source statement must describe your diagnosis, your symptoms, your treatment history and the limitations imposed by your condition.
The SSA bases their opinion of your medical source statement on its persuasiveness—whether or not the statement fully explains your inability to work. Your medical source statement will also describe your functional limitations, including how much weight you can lift, how long you are able to sit, stand, walk, or use your hands (For mental disability claims, these functional limitations might include whether you can get along with co-workers, remember instructions, or are afraid to leave your home).
Witness statements can also be an important aspect of your disability application once your claim has gone to the Administrative Law Judge appeal. As an example, if your claim for disability benefits is based on a mental impairment, having a former supervisor testify that you were unable to work at a consistent pace, tolerate stress, or concentrate on your work could be extremely helpful. If chronic pain is at the heart of your disability claim, those who know you best can testify regarding the impact pain has on your daily activities and your ability to work. In particular, those who are seeking disability benefits for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome will benefit from having testimony from friends, family, co-workers, or work supervisors regarding the impact the impairment has on your ability to function day-to-day.
Why You Should Work with an Experienced SSD Attorney from Carmichael Law Group
We hope you now have a better idea of how to win a SSD case. While you could, conceivably, filing your initial application on your own, you have a much better chance of an initial approval if your application is accurate and complete. Once you move to the SSD appeal process, it is imperative that you have an experienced SSD attorney from Carmichael Law Group by your side.
An appeal involves getting medical and vocational evidence together and attending a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. You will be required to answer questions; your attorney will ensure you are fully prepared to answer those questions, and can question medical and vocational experts, eliciting the information that benefits your claim. Social Security disability law is a complex, highly specialized field and you have much riding on the outcome of your disability claim.
You simply cannot risk incomplete paperwork, missed deadlines, or representing yourself in front of the ALJ. Statistics show that those who have legal representation at a disability hearing are much more likely to be awarded benefits than those who do not. Highly experienced attorneys at Carmichael Law Group are skilled in SSD benefits and are ready to help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve. We are nationwide SSD lawyers! Contact Carmichael Law Group today.