Documenting Your Disability: 8 Tips to Help You Successfully File an SSDI Claim
If you are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, the decision on whether you qualify will be made based on how well you are able to document your medical condition and its effects on your daily life and your ability to hold a job. Most people are denied disability benefits not because they aren’t disabled, but because their disability is not adequately documented or because they are not making an effort to get better. These tips from our Massachusetts disability lawyers can help you support your SSDI claim.
- Complete the SSDI application forms. Fill the forms out completely with as much detail as possible. Feel free to add information. Concentrate on the symptoms that make it difficult for you to work.
- Sign and return all medical records authorizations. These authorizations are needed for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to access your medical records. Provide all of your medical records, so the SSA can see how long your disability has lasted, what treatments you’ve tried, and how your disability has progressed.
- Keep a journal. Record your symptoms each day. Write down what you are able to do that day and what you are not able to do. Photocopy your journal and send it with your SSDI application. This will help the SSA reviewer understand how your disability affects your life on a daily basis. It will also help your doctor better understand your symptoms and any difficulties they cause.
- Keep track of the hours you work. Start doing this as soon as your disability starts to affect your work performance. Use a calendar. Each day, write down how many hours you actually worked. It is best if you can show that you are trying to hold a job despite your disability. If you are not able to work, write down the symptoms that keep you from going to work each day.
- Follow your treatment plan. Always take your medications and follow your doctor’s recommendations. The SSA is concerned about fraudulent claims; following your doctor’s treatment plan shows that you are trying to get better.
- Be cooperative. Provide all information that is requested. If you are asked to see an SSA doctor, go to the appointment. Be honest about your symptoms.
- Keep copies of all paperwork and correspondence. You can use this information if you are asked questions about your claim. If you are denied, your Massachusetts disability benefits attorney will be able to determine if any pertinent information was missing.
- Don't give up. If you are denied SSDI the first time you apply, you are not alone. More than half of all SSDI applicants are denied the first time they apply. Contact the Massachusetts SSDI attorneys at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847 and schedule a free consultation.
For more tips about applying for SSDI, request a free copy of Massachusetts disability attorney John Keefe’s book titled 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim.