How to Help Your Disability Lawyer Win Your Social Security Claim & Appeal

When filing for disability through the Social Security Administration, here is a list of eight things you can do to help your disability lawyer win your claim.

Keep this list handy, in case anything on it changes. And if you are just now reaching out to a disability lawyer, here are some of the things you can expect you will need to provide

Provide Basic Demographic Information

  • Information about you
  • Birthdate, place of birth, and social security number
  • Your current and any former spouse’s name, birthdate, age, social security number, marriage date and dates of divorce or death
  • Dates of birth and names of minor children
  • Account number and routing number of your financial intuition if you want direct deposit of your benefits
  • Information about your medical condition
  • Contact information for someone who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application, such as a family member
  • Information about your illness, injury, or condition such as detailed information about all doctors, clinics, or hospitals who have treated you (name, address, phone number, patient ID, and dates of treatment)
  • List of prescription medications and the prescribing doctor
  • List of what medical tests you have had done including names and dates and who requested them
  • Information about your work
  • Gross pay for last year and the current year
  • Contact information for current employer (last year as well)
  • A copy of your social security statement
  • Information about all jobs help the past 15 years
  • Information for any other benefits you may be applying for such as Worker’s compensation, disability from the military, etc.

Get Your Documentation In Order

  • Proof of birth such as a birth certificate
  • Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status
  • US military discharge papers (if before 1968)
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns
  • Medical evidence
  • Proof of any temporary or permanent worker’s compensation type benefits you receive

Sign Releases of Information

Sign a medical privacy release allowing your attorney to request any medical information you did not provide or any information your attorney needs to help your case. Your disability lawyer will also use this to request supportive statements from your doctors.

Prepare For Your Hearing With Your Disability Lawyer

Your lawyer will go over questions that could be asked of you during your hearing. Answer these as truthfully as possible even if you feel embarrassed. Your disability lawyer is not there to judge you; just to get as much information to help you win your case as possible.

Expect to be able to answer:

Questions related to your mood.

“How are you feeling?”
“Are you anxious?”
“Are you depressed?”
“Do your medications make you feel different?”
“Are there things you do not enjoy anymore?”
“How do you get along with people?”

Questions about treatment:

“Do you see a doctor for your disabilities?”
“How long have you been injured or sick?”
“Have you tried any treatment?”
“Do you take medications?”
“Do your medications have any side-effects?”
“Do you take any medication?”
“Do you take the prescribed dosage of all medications?”
“Do you have health insurance?”

Questions about employability:

“How did you know you were too sick to work?”
“When did you become unable to work?”
“Are you able to work now?”

Lifestyle Questions:

“Do you use alcohol or other recreational drugs?”
“Do you abuse any substances?”
“Are you seeking substance abuse help or assistance?”
“Have you been incarcerated?”
“What were you incarcerated for?”
“Do you take care of yourself?”
“Can you cook, clean, drive, and shop on your own?”
“Are there things you cannot do that you used to enjoy?”
“What is your average day?”
“Can you lift (common objects)?”
“How far can you walk?”
“Do you use stairs at home, in public?”
“Can you read?”
“Can you write?”
“What is your education?”
“What are your symptoms?”

Reach Out to Your Medical Providers

Ask your current physician to support your disability case and have him/her fill out a detailed statement or an RFC (residual functional capacity) form.

Pay Attention to Timelines

Respond as soon as possible to letters and notices and attend any medical exams scheduled by disability determination services (DDS).

Stay in Contact With Us

Check the status of your disability case on a regular basis.  Call into the office, let us know you are still around 🙂

Have Patience, Even When It Is Challenging

Always be courteous, patient, and kind to all the people working on your case including your local social security rep, DDS, and your disability lawyer – if possible.

Here’s another article you might find helpful after having read this one!

 How to win Your SSI Appeal Step-by-Step