Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim

There are many things you can do to win your Social Security Disability claim. I clearly cannot cover all of them in this one post, but I am going to explain two basic things that can help any disability claim. If you want to give yourself the best chance to win your SSDI or SSI claim you should read my full website on Social Security Disability. However, for those of you who preferred the abridged version I am going to explain the two basic ways you can win your claim and what you need to do it.

The first way you can be found disabled is if you meet or equal a listed impairment. To be found disabled under a listing it is extremely important that your doctor believes you meet or equal listing and is willing to write you a report explaining which listing by number and why. The report should include any medical evidence, tests, x-rays, MRIs or other medical evidence that the listing requires. It also helps if the doctor who is writing the report is a specialist in the area which you are claiming to meet a listing in. This sounds very easy, but the medical listing of impairments were written to be difficult to meet or equal, because if you are found disabled based on a listing they will not consider your age, education, or past work experience. The listing of impairments requires a severity of a medical condition that is so severe that anyone who meets the requirements is clearly disabled no matter what their age, education, or past work experience is. Most people applying for Social Security Disability benefits will not meet or equal a listed impairment. That being said, this should be the first place you look and if you feel you may meet or equal a listed impairment you should take a copy to your doctor to see if he or she feels the same way.

The second way you can be found disabled is if you can show the limitations caused by your medical conditions would prevent you from working. Your age, education, and past work experience are important here and dictate exactly how limited you must be to be found disabled but to be safe it is best to assume you have to show you cannot do any work. Nobody knows what limitations you have from your medical condition like you do. Unfortunately, Social Security cares more about what doctors believe your limitations are. This is why it is very important that you get opinion evidence from your treating doctors. In every case, Social Security examining and nonexamining doctors will give their opinion of your limitations from your medical conditions. You will need to get your treating doctor's opinions so that the Social Security doctor's opinions are not the only opinion of your limitations in your file. It is also important to know that your doctor's opinion is supposed to be given more weight than the opinion of the Social Security doctors if it is supported by the rest of the medical evidence. There are two ways to get your doctors opinion of your limitations. You can ask your doctor for a report explaining your medical condition and how it prevents you from working. The second way, and in my opinion the easier and better way, is to get RFC forms completed by as many of your treating doctors as you can. If you have an RFC completed by your doctor, and it shows limitations that would prevent you from working, and you have medical evidence that supports that opinion, then you have a real good chance of winning your Social Security disability claim. If you have two or more RFC's that show you have limitations that would prevent you from working and you have the medical evidence that supports these opinions then it would be very difficult for Social Security to deny your claim.

So, those are the to basic ways to prove you are disabled. You should always check if you meet or equal a listed impairment and get a report from your doctor if he or she believes you do to. Whether you are able to provide a report that states you meet or equal listed impairment or not, you should then try and get an RFC from each of your treating doctors. You cannot assume that Social Security will follow your treating doctors opinion, which is why you still need to get RFC's even if you have a report that states you meet or equal a listing. Also, if you have an RFC that shows you are unable to work, you should try and get another from one of your other treating doctors for the same reason. No matter what your medical condition is, if you can get a detailed report or RFC that shows you are disabled you will greatly increase your chances of winning your Social Security disability claim.