Avoiding Mistakes to get your Disability Claim Approved
What can you do to get your disability claim approved? At the very least, avoid the following mistakes.
Prior to filing your disability claim you might want to get and review your medical records. Too often, disability applicants are sure that their treating doctor is in full support of their filing for disability only to find that their doctor not only does not support their allegation of disability but included derogatory information in their medical records.
This is why it is important if possible to review the records of any medical source you plan to provide to Social Security for your disability claim. If your doctor is supportive of your filing for disability, they may help your disability claim by providing a comprehensive treating medical source statement.
The statement should include your diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, response to treatment, your limitations, and if possible an opinion as to your ability to work considering your limitations. Not everyone can get these statements, however if you can get a statement you could help your disability claim to be approved.
Even if you are not able to get the statement, it is important to at least check to make sure the doctor's notes are not unfavorable to your disability case.
Once your disability case is at the state disability agency, there are some things that you need to do to prevent your disability claim from being denied for non-medical reasons. There are situations that allow Social Security to deny disability cases on the basis of failing to cooperate with the development of your disability case.
A. You should always provide Social Security of any changes of address and/or phone number. The ability to contact you during the development of your disability claim is essential. The disability examiner working on your disability case may need to contact you for additional information or to schedule a consultative examination (an examination used by Social Security to secure current information about your disabling condition). If the disability examiner cannot reach you they can deny your disability claim without even evaluating any of your medical information.
B. You should also cooperate with information requests from the disability examiner working on your case. If you receive a work history form or Social Security activities of daily living questionnaire, make sure you thoroughly complete them and return them in a timely manner. If you fail to provide information necessary to your disability determination, your disability claim can be denied.
If a consultative examination is needed for your disability determination, you should make should make sure to attend the examination, if you absolutely cannot attend the examination on the scheduled date, contact your disability examiner and reschedule your examination. If you miss your examination on the day of the exam, contact your disability examiner as soon as possible to let them know why you missed the examination and reschedule it at that time.
Disability examiners only schedule consultative examinations when they need to make a decision. For example, if the disability examiner working on your case does not have the medical information necessary to make your disability decision, or they need clarification with regard to your disabling condition, you may be required to attend a consultative examination.
If you fail to contact Social Security or they are unable to reach you to reschedule the examination, your disability claim can be denied for failure to attend a consultative examination.
You should also provide Social Security with any new medical treatment information. You can do this by contacting the disability examiner working on your disability claim or by giving your medical information to your local Social Security office to forward to the disability examiner. It would seem reasonable to provide the information to the disability examiner working on your disability claim rather than the Social Security office if at all possible.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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