If you’ve filed for disability benefits, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. From the time you submit your initial application to the Social Security Administration, you are playing a waiting game to see whether you will be approved for benefits. Since only about a third of all applicants are approved at the first application stage, you will likely have to appeal your claim.
There are four levels of appeal: a reconsideration of your initial application, but perhaps with more information submitted by you, a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, an appeal in front of the National Review Panel, and an appeal at the federal level. Throughout the process, the question uppermost in your mind may well be: “How do I win my disability claim?” While you will find many tips and tricks that will maximize your chances of having your disability claim approved, perhaps the most crucial step you will take is speaking to a knowledgeable disability attorney from the Carmichael Law Group.
When you choose the Carmichael Law Group you are choosing a highly respected, imminently experienced law firm that can assist you regardless of where you live. We are a nationwide SS disability firm with more than 300 positive Google reviews. Our free initial consultation will give you an idea of exactly what we can do for you as we fight for your disability benefits. The sooner you speak to a knowledgeable SS disability attorney, the better for you, however, even if you are already in the appeals process, our highly skilled disability attorneys can step in and use our extensive experience to build a solid case for the benefits you need and deserve.
So How Do I Win My Disability Claim?
After hiring a skilled SS disability attorney, there are still plenty of things you can do that will help your attorney build a solid case on your behalf. Some of these include:
- Before you fill out your initial application, take the time to go through the checklist provided by the SSA and make sure you have all the documentation required. You will need basic personal information, including your marriage and divorce history, extensive information on your disability, and the names and birthdates of your children. You will also need your job history for the past 15 years, along with your educational background and any job training you’ve engaged in. Medical information is especially crucial. Information on your medical condition, every hospital or clinic you’ve visited, every treatment you’ve received, and every diagnosis that supports your disability claim should be submitted, along with blood work results and x-rays. Disability claims are often won or lost on the sufficiency of medical evidence. While the SSA will ask for your medical records directly, if you can get all your medical records together and ensure they are properly organized, it can go a long way toward winning your disability claim.
- Maintain a good relationship with your treating physicians. The SSA will consider all medical opinions from your treating physicians, based on whether they are all consistent in the conclusions, and whether their conclusions are supportable. The opinions of your treating physicians must closely match the medical evidence on file, and it should all support your specific disability claim. If you can get your treating physicians to provide written statements that consistently explain how your disability limits your ability to work, this is even better. If your doctors can complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation, this will significantly enhance your disability claim. To recap, provide the following when possible:
- A written diagnosis from your treating physician(s)
- The time your physician(s) expect your recovery to take if they feel recovery is possible
- All results of clinical tests
- X-rays and lab findings
- Prescribed treatments along with how you followed these treatments
- A statement from your treating physicians regarding the things you can no longer do because of your disability
- Gather as much documentation as possible to show that your disability meets the listing provided by Social Security—sometimes known as the Blue Book. Ask your healthcare providers to submit comprehensive statements that describe your limitations and how they affect your work and personal life. The more closely these statements adhere to the Blue Book listings, the better for you.
- Make sure you have carefully followed every medical recommendation made by your physician. Have you consistently taken any medication prescribed by a treating physician for your stated condition? Have you attended all treatment appointments and made lifestyle changes as recommended? The more medical evidence you provide that shows you have done everything in your power to improve your condition, the better for you and your disability application.
- Cooperate fully with Social Security. If they ask that you attend a consultative physical or mental examination, do so. If they ask for additional medical records follow up with your treating physicians to get the information as quickly as possible.
- Keep a diary of sorts of your medical condition and how the daily symptoms impact your work as well as your day-to-day life activities. If you’ve had side effects from prescribed medications, keep a written record of those side effects. If you have chronic pain, document your good days and bad days, and be very descriptive about your pain levels and how the pain prohibited you from completing your work. Instead of simply saying the pain was “bad,” describe the pain in detail while including any tasks you were unable to do because of the pain.
- Have your friends and family members fill out an SSA 795 in which a statement is written about the symptoms and problems you have experienced as a result of your disability. This is a way of telling your story through the eyes of others who know you and see you often. These statements can really add context to your disability claim, letting the SSA see how much your disability has altered your life.
It simply makes good sense in your quest to maximize your chances of having your disability claim approved to secure all your medical information, to learn to express your symptoms and limitations in a concise manner and to have all the necessary information organized and ready to go. Not only will this help your case, but it will also help your attorney build a complete, solid case on your behalf.
Getting the Help You Need from the Carmichael Law Group
When you choose Carmichael Law Group, you have chosen a firm with a deep understanding of the SS disability process. We know that while a significant number of SSD applications are denied, this is hardly the end of the story. We can help you gather any missing information while making sure your application or appeal is complete. Our firm will always go the extra mile for you, working hard to ensure you receive the disability benefits that can make a difference in your future. Contact the Carmichael Law Group today.