If you are or soon will be in the process of applying for Social Security Disability, you've probably already had at least a few friends or family members tell you how difficult the process is or how often claims are denied. It's not uncommon for people to share stories they know or have heard of about the difficulty of the disability process, and that can be very discouraging for someone who has just begun their application or who is getting ready for a hearing. What you're not as likely to hear about are the stories of people who successfully navigate the disability process – but these are just the things that you need to know about. Knowing the elements of a successful Social Security Disability claim can help you understand what you need to do to qualify for your benefits. Take a look at what you might find in a successful claim for Social Security Disability.
You Have Support From Your Personal Physician
It's possible to get approved for disability benefits without the help of your doctor, but it's a lot more difficult. Sure, your medical records may prove that you have a medical condition, but your doctor's opinion that you are disabled is an extra that carries a lot of weight with the judges that review Social Security Disability claim.
Often, applicants don't pursue help from their primary physician, believing that their diagnosis and medical records will be enough, or they wait until they've been denied and have to go in for a hearing. Don't make this mistake. You can improve your chances of having your claim approved on your first try by getting your physician on board from the beginning. Ask your doctor to fill out a residual functional capacity form (RFC form) that you can submit with your application. Be sure not to wait until the last minute – it's a long form and your doctor will need some time to complete it.
You Have A Strong Work History
The judge will consider your work record for a couple of reasons. Of course, they'll need to determine whether or not you're still capable of working in your field or performing any of the jobs that you've held in the past, so they'll need to see what it is that you've done. But the judge will also consider your work record when trying to determine your credibility.
It doesn't matter whether or not you've earned a lot of money in your working life or what types of jobs you've held, but if you've worked consistently and paid your Social Security taxes consistently, it will contribute to your credibility. An inconsistent work record is by no means disqualifying, but it can result in closer scrutiny than you would receive otherwise. Make sure that you submit a complete, organized, and honest work record to help give your claim that additional credibility.
You Have Supplemental Evidence
Once you've gotten your medical records, your work records, and your physician's support, you're ready to go, right? Maybe not. Supplemental evidence can help bolster your claims and make up for any insufficiencies elsewhere in your application.
Supplemental evidence can be anything that supports your medical record and your disability status. It could be testimony from friends and family members who have observed the changes in your condition that make it impossible for you to work, especially if these are people that help with your medical or physical care. Or it could be an affidavit from your employer, detailing work absences or changes in your performance that correspond with your diagnosis or the progression of your disability. Including these affidavits with your application or bringing them to your hearing improve your chances of approval.
One more thing that can help is the advice of a seasoned Social Security Disability lawyer. A disability lawyer in your area will know from experience exactly what does and doesn't work for clients in your situation. You can save time and improve your chances of approval by seeking help from a disability attorney like those at Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law.