There are a lot of myths and stories that circulate about people on disability. Most people have a friend, friend of a friend, or acquaintance that is on disability, so they think the process must be easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The process is long, tedious, and can frustrate many people. There are numerous forms to fill out and people to talk to, medical providers to remember, and other issues that you have to contend with. This article will bust some of the myths you may have heard about Disability claims.
1. Believing that all you need to get approved is a doctor stating you are disabled.
Doctors are a great resource for helping you obtain disability benefits. However, an opinion that is not supported by medical evidence and other evidence is by itself often not enough. The claims adjusters are not friends with your doctor. So while they will take a doctor’s opinion for what it is worth, they want to see the medical evidence (usually through diagnostic testing or consistent reports of the same symptoms) that supports the doctor’s opinion.
2. Believing your claim is different.
Over 70% of disability claims are denied on the determination level. Another 30%-40% are denied at the hearing stage. The claims adjusters and Administrative law judges do not pick out specific claims that they believe are better than other claims. This means you have to make your claim stand out. The best way to make your claim stand out is to get consistent medical treatment and a doctor’s opinion stating that you are disabled that is consistent with the medical records from this treatment. Otherwise, you’re leaving your claim up to being one of the rest of the claims.
3. Believing that Social Security favors one type of person over another.
We hear people all the time claim that if they were poor, rich, white, a minority, etc. that the Social Security office would consider their case differently. This is simply not true! The Social Security adjusters and judges do not care what your background is or where you come from. They only care about one thing: Are you disabled. Believing that anything other than your condition and your limitations will affect your case will do nothing but hurt your case. So rest assured that the Social Security office isn’t playing favorites.
4. Believing Social Security will follow-up with you if you don’t respond.
You cannot rely on the Social Security Administration to make sure you do your part. The Social Security Administration has thousands of claims and is not interested in playing the role of babysitter. If you don’t want to help yourself out by filling their forms or remembering where you go your medical treatment, that is your choice. The Social Security office is not going to go out of their way to investigate what other treatment you’ve gotten or what friends can talk about your condition. So don’t expect Social Security to help you out. The best you can do is help yourself and fill out everything as detailed as possible.
5. Believing your lawyer will fix anything you don’t do.
Hiring a lawyer is a great way to help your chances at succeeding on your disability claim. But your lawyer isn’t a magician who waves a magic wand and cures any problems with your case. Your lawyer can’t fix what he/she doesn’t know about your case. Only you know the medical providers you have been treated at and the doctors you have seen. Only you know the people who would fill out forms about your conditions in a helpful manner. Only you can make sure that you get the treatment you need to document the condition(s) you are asserting make you unable to work. So if you choose not to work on your case, your case will suffer. While your lawyer will be a guide and an advocate for your case, your lawyer can’t help you with information he/she doesn’t know exists. So communicate with your lawyer and your case will improve dramatically.