Nine Ways to Increase the Chances of a Successful Claim

Are you applying for social security disability benefits? Here are nine ways to increase the chances of a successful claim.

1. Medical evidence is essential. For a successful resolution of any claim, always get treatment from your doctors on a regular basis.

2. Be as descriptive as possible when discussing your condition with your doctors. Provide your doctors with specific examples of what you cannot do because of your disability. For example, let your doctor know if it hurts to climb stairs or if you can only walk a few blocks before needing to rest. This will help your doctor accurately diagnose and treat you, and it will give the Social Security Administration a more complete picture of your disability.

3. Keep a diary of reoccurring events, such as migraines, seizures, panic attacks, or gout flares. Social Security needs to know how often you experience these symptoms. Since you do not go to the doctor’s office every time you have a migraine, the best way to document your condition is to keep track yourself. At each doctor's appointment, be sure to inform your doctor of everything that has occurred since your last visit.

4. Attend all scheduled appointments and follow doctor recommendations exactly. Explain to your doctor if there is a reason you cannot keep an appointment, such as no health insurance, increased symptoms of your condition, or medication side effects. If you need to stop seeing a doctor or stop taking medication, the reason should be documented.

5. Seek the care of a specialist. This is especially important if you have any mental health or pain conditions. The Social Security Administration highly respects the opinions of specialists such as psychiatrists, orthopedists, rheumatologists, neurologists, and cardiologists. Routine treatment with your family doctor may not be enough to convince the Social Security Administration that you are severely disabled.

6. Keep an updated list of all healthcare providers from whom you have received treatment since you became disabled. Be sure to inform your attorney of any changes or additions, so they can request your medical records and send them to the Social Security Administration on your behalf.

7. Be patient. Resolution of your case can take anywhere from several months to several years. Make the most of this time by seeing doctors regularly to ensure there is plenty of medical evidence to document your disability.

8. Attend all meetings the Social Security Administration schedules for you, and return all paperwork promptly to the appropriate offices. These meetings include doctors’ appointments scheduled with independent medical examiners as well as appointments with Social Security Administration staff. If you miss a deadline or appointment, you may have to start the process all over, which will delay your approval and can negatively affect your benefit amount.

9. Hire an attorney to represent you. Claimants who are represented by an attorney are statistically more likely to win their claim.

Have more questions? Reach out to Shafer Law Firm for a social security disability consultation, for which you won't have to leave the privacy of your own home and no money is needed upfront. Just call our office and Attorney Jason D. Reagle can immediately begin evaluating your case.

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