How can I help my representative develop my Social Security disability claim?

Get regular medical treatment -the Social Security Administration must rely on objective medical evidence to determine that you are disabled. If there is no medical evidence of your disability, they have no choice but to deny your claim for disability. If you cannot afford medical care, seek out free or low cost care in your community. You may not feel that medical treatment is helping you and you stop treating Social Security will assume that you no longer need treatment and are not disabled.

Keep records of your medical care-It is easier to keep up-to-date records than to try to remember months later what doctor you saw and when, what tests you had or when you started a new medication. We have provided you with a notebook to record this information.

Keep your representative updated on your medical care-you do not need to contact us every time you go to the doctor, but please let us know if you have seen a new doctor so we can obtain records. Provide us with a list of all treatment providers (mental health, physical health, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc.) even those that do not provide “traditional” medical care. Provide us with copies of any forms the doctor fills out on your behalf (handicap parking permit form, housing form, etc.)

Develop a relationship with your doctor – Social Security will rely heavily on your treating physician’s medical opinion of your disability. Develop a good relationship with your doctor and their staff. It is important that you attend all of your doctor a appointments and follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

Complete your paperwork thoroughly and on time-you are the one most familiar with your disability and Social Security requires that certain forms be filled out by the claimant or someone familiar with them. Complete the forms that we send you as thoroughly as possible. Ask a friend or family member to assist you, if needed. Mail the forms back to us on time. Social Security has deadlines for filing your appeals.

Document your limitations – Keep a diary of your good days and bad days, and the limitations you experience. This information will be used to convey to Social Security how your disability affects your daily living. Provide a copy of your journal to your representative every three months.

Follow your representative’s instructions – Mary Kay gave you a “to do” list when you first met with her. Follow her instructions and advice; she has been helping disability claimants for over twenty-five years.

Follow some general rules – Always tell the truth! Do not exaggerate nor minimize your disability; be an “honest pessimist”. Know your limitations and be able to provide concrete examples. Above all, be patient! Obtaining disability benefits is a very slow process.

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