What Is My Role in My Social Security Disability Case?

August 4, 2023

At Nash Disability Law, we have a skilled team of disability attorneys. But as Nash attorney Dan Rosen says, “We’re experts in the law, but you’re an expert in your life.”

This means that your case for Social Security Disability benefits is much stronger if you are actively involved and provide us with the information we need for success.

Here are four ways to be involved and increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits:

1. Enlist your doctor’s support.

In most cases, you should tell your doctor that you are filing for disability. The most common reason that Social Security Disability claims are denied is because there is insufficient medical evidence of a disability and inadequate proof of how that condition restricts a person’s ability to work.To improve your chances of winning benefits, it is important to share the right information with your doctor to have the most helpful and specific medical evidence to prove your claim.

So how do you initiate the conversation with your doctor about your disability claim? You can start the conversation with your doctors even before you submit a disability claim. This way, they can document the symptoms and limitations that you report, as well as things that they observe and recommend. Tell your doctors about the difficulties that you have in performing your work and daily activities, and ask them to write this information in their notes.

Social Security decides a disability case by deciding a person’s residual functional capacity, or RFC. This is an evaluation of what you can still do despite your health problems.

One of the most important pieces of evidence in a Social Security Disability case is your own treating doctor’s opinion about your RFC. Social Security often gives substantial weight to the opinion of your personal physician because that person has first-hand knowledge of your medical condition and prognosis and is often in a better and more informed position to provide information on what you can and cannot do.

If your physician submits his or her medical opinion supported by a comprehensive RFC form that is consistent with the medical evidence, you have a much stronger case and a much improved chance of being awarded disability benefits. For more on RFCs read our blog article: “The Secret to Winning Your Disability Case.”

2. Tell your disability lawyer about any changes in your health, work, or living arrangements.

“A common misconception is that as your disability lawyers, we are automatically provided with updates about your situation,” Nash attorney Demetra Geller says. “The only way we receive these updates is if you tell us. If you have a change in medical providers or new treatments or tests, please let us know so we can update your file and assure that Social Security receives your records.”“Similarly, please tell us if you start working again, even if you are only working part time or in the ‘gig’ economy. This can have an impact on your case, but oftentimes you may still be eligible for benefits.”

Notify us about any change in address or phone number. It is important that we are able to reach you. In addition, we will send a change of address notice to the Social Security office.

3. Follow all prescribed treatments.

This is a critically important piece of advice and the one that is often ignored. It is essential to completely follow the treatment plan set by your doctor including taking all prescribed medications.When the Social Security Administration (SSA) is reviewing your claim for disability benefits, they will be looking at what treatments you have undergone and how you responded to the prescribed treatments.

If you have not cooperated with the treatments that have been prescribed by your doctor, it can torpedo your claim for disability benefits.

It is not enough to say, “Nothing else can be done for me.” Unless a doctor confirms that this is true, which is highly unlikely, it is important to stay in treatment and continue to attempt to alleviate your symptoms.

4. Keep a written daily journal of your medical condition and symptoms and how they impact your employment and personal life.

A journal is valuable evidence of how a medical condition limits your daily life and shows how a disease is progressing.Document good days and bad days. Include tasks you have trouble with, such as dressing, cooking or shopping. Record any side effects of medications, such as drowsiness that prevents you from driving or operating machinery.

Write down all the dates of the medical appointments related to your impairments and keep track of phone calls to your health care providers. For more tips on keeping a journal read our blog article: “A Disability Journal Can Improve Your Odds of Winning Your Case.

Nash Disability Law is your go-to Chicagoland Social Security Disability law firm. Contact us for a free evaluation of your disability case and to learn more strategies to help you win the disability benefits you have rightfully earned.