If you have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), here are some things you need to know.
1. GET TREATMENT FOR YOUR MEDICAL CONDITIONS: Even if you are diagnosed with a serious, disabling condition, and there is no way to fix your problem, you need to see you doctor regularly to document how your condition is progressing, and if your condition is getting worse. Most diseases or conditions have progressive stages. For example, congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have stages to describe their severity. You need to continue seeing your doctor in order to document the stage or progress of the disease. Even if you don’t have health insurance or money for treatment, if your symptoms get worse, or flare up, you can seek treatment at the hospital emergency department or the local health department.
2. FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Some disabling conditions are manageable. If the records show that you are not taking your medications or following your doctor’s instructions, it can affect your case. For example, if you have diabetes, but you don’t take your medicine, or you don’t follow diet restrictions, it can hurt you and your case. If you have COPD, and you continue to smoke, your doctor’s records may sound like you aren’t doing what the doctor says. Quitting smoking, losing weight, or making other changes can be difficult. If you are trying to make changes that your doctor recommends, be sure to tell your doctor, and tell them why you are having trouble. Your efforts, even if not completely successful yet, need to be in the records. Also, if you haven’t taken medicine, or gotten a test, because you can’t afford it, be sure to tell your doctor. There may be less expensive comparable medications, your doctor may be able to give you samples, or your doctor may be able to get you financial assistance with your medications or treatment.
3. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT WRITING A STATEMENT FOR YOUR CASE: Doctors are very busy, and it is hard for them to take the time to review your file and write an opinion about your case. The opinion also needs to say more than, “I believe this person is disabled.” The Social Security Administration will want to know how your health problems limit your activity. A description of your limitations is the most helpful. If you have a Social Security Disability lawyer, the lawyer will help with forms and questionnaires that can make it easier for the doctor, but it also helps if you ask the doctor directly.
4. FIND AN EXPERIENCED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY LAWYER: A lawyer can help you get the medical and other records together that you will need to have the best chance to be approved. The lawyer will make sure that your records are in the Social Security file, and that they are considered with your claim. If you have applied for, or believe that you are entitled to, Social Security Disability benefits, call the Social Security Disability attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, at 800-533-6845 for a free consultation.