November 18, 2016
Do You Know Why You Are Disabled?
That seems like a strange question doesn’t it? My clients tell me they are disabled, but many have a hard time saying it in a way the Social Security Administration (SSA) understands. Many people have Social Security disability questions. There can be many reasons why it is hard to explain your inability to work. You may have a rare condition the SSA is not very familiar with; you may have a combination of impairments that, all added together, make you unable to work; you may have to argue you meet special rules the SSA recognizes; or you may just simply be unable to work a full time job. Trust me, claiming you are disabled to the SSA can be confusing and difficult, or it can be as easy as they want to make it for you. That’s why knowing what to tell them can possibly create a make or break situation.
In my experience, you need to be careful how you phrase things to the Social Security Administration. First of all, being disabled is not a joke. Going to physical and mental examinations the SSA sends you to and taking it lightly may result in that particular examiner noting your attitude to the SSA. All the way through the process, you need to express accurately to the SSA what you are experiencing.
Fill out the forms the SSA gives you truthfully and in their entirety. Some claims can be processed favorably without much human interaction by giving the SSA ALL of the information they request. Be proactive in your claim, especially at the initial level, to ensure the SSA gets all pertinent information. Unfortunately, after initial denials, while waiting for a hearing, your claim may not be looked at again until you find yourself in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
When describing what you can or cannot do to the SSA, be detailed. If the SSA asks you if you can clean your house, and you simply reply “yes” without describing any limitations you experience, that may not be to your advantage. If you have limitations such as only being able to clean your house for fifteen minutes, and then requiring a thirty minute break, you need to emphasize that to the SSA. What I am trying to say is your blanket “yes” answers can make you look like nothing is wrong when that is very far from the truth. I tell many of my clients the SSA does not live with you, so you need to explain what is happening to you in detail.
So why are you disabled? It may not be in your best interest to let the SSA try to figure it out by themselves. Tell the SSA your limitations, see your physicians as needed, attempt to comply with your physicians’ requests, and stay on top of your disability claim. Don’t get me wrong – there are many other detailed aspects to a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, but doing these things may prove to enhance your chance of receiving a favorable decision.
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