April 15, 2010

How Can I Improve My Social Security Disability Claim?

Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis represents Social Security disability claimants that have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In his experience in working with disability claimants, there seems to be one common question his clients ask him. “How can I improve my Social Security disability claim?”

Mr. Lewis believes that there is no one trick to winning your Social Security claim but there are ways of effectively presenting your claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help support your claim.  When a claimant is filing their initial claim to the SSA, the claimant should submit all medical records that support their claim with this initial application.  It is very important to provide the SSA the medical records that support the claim.  It is Attorney Lewis’s experience that you should not depend on the SSA to retrieve all of your medical records.  While you are waiting for the decision of your initial application, continue to see your medical doctors and continue any and all treatment for your disability.  It’s important not to miss any doctor’s appointments during this period. 

If you have been denied disability benefits, immediately file an appeal.  The claimant should file a “Request for Reconsideration.”  This is when the claimant disagrees with the SSA’s decision and would like the SSA to reconsider their claim.  At this point, you may have an attorney represent you in this claim.  There are many benefits to having an attorney represent you during the appeals period.  The attorney may keep you informed of any deadlines, can help you obtain medical records, may assist in completing the appeal and may assist in submitting all necessary paperwork to the SSA.  Whether you have an attorney or not, during this appeals period, submit all new medical records and test results to the SSA.  Also, submit any new doctor, hospital, and clinic information to the SSA.  These records and information may help you win your claim.  Build your relationship with your treating physicians.  Ask your doctor if he/she would be willing to complete a “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) assessment to submit to the SSA.  These forms may greatly enhance your chances of winning your claim.  RFC forms are available on the SSA’s website. 

It is always important to stay involved in your case.  Scott Lewis advises his clients to keep a journal of how their disabling condition affects their day to day life.  It is wise to keep notes describing specifically what these effects are.  For example, if a claimant is taking a medication that causes side effects, make a note of this side effect.  Explain what affects this disability have on your day to day activity and if it affects your sleeping patterns.  Whatever the claimant is experiencing, it should be noted in a journal to support the claim. 

As most Indiana disability claimants are aware, the claims process may be long and frustrating.  Stay calm and be patient.  Be careful to not take your frustration out on your legal representative or the Social Security Administration employees. Many of them may also be frustrated with the disability claims process. 

As earlier stated, there are no one trick to winning your claim but the above tips may help improve the way your claim is presented to the SSA.  In Attorney Scott Lewis’s experience, the success rate is much greater when a claimant has the appropriate supporting documents in order to meet the SSA’s evaluation requirements.  If you or someone you know is experiencing disabling impairments such as but not limited to multiple sclerosis, diabetes, neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, or depression and have been denied SSDI or SSI benefits, contact Scott Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.  He may be able to help you win your claim!

Filed under:Claims Process
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