• Determine the right date that your disability started.

    • A surprisingly high number of Social Security disability claimants give the wrong date that their disability began on their application. Oftentimes this is simply a misunderstanding of what Social Security is asking when they pose “When did you become unable to work?” For example, I see denial letters that potential clients give me when they hire me after a denial that indicate the disability date was years ago. The person will explain that they were injured on that date years ago, so they put that date on the application even though they had returned to work for several years after the accident. There was absolutely no way that a person could be approved for disability back to their injury because of Social Security’s rules regarding earned income. It’s important to get this date right.
  • Do what Social Security asks you to do!

    • Your case examiner with Social Security’s Disability Determination Service is working to compile the evidence needed to make a decision on your claim. If Social Security sends you forms to sign and/or questionnaires to complete and return, do so in a timely manner. (Remember to always use the envelope they provide because it has a barcode that sends it directly to your Case Examiner). If Social Security sets an appointment for you to have Consultative Examination with a Healthcare provider, go to the appointment.
  • Don’t give up!

    • Social Security denies most SSDI and SSI applicants. I believe they purposefully make the process long and overly complicated with arbitrary denials along the way requiring multiple appeal stages. If you receive a denial, and you truly cannot return to work, request Reconsideration of the Initial Application Determination. If Social Security denies your Reconsideration request (and believe me, it’s almost a rubber stamp DENIED in most Reconsiderations), the Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. It’s at the Hearing stage where we win most of our cases here at Magnolia Disability Law Firm.
  • Make a list of your functional limitations to take with you to all of your doctor appointments.

    • I do not mean that you write down your diagnosis. It is important to make a list of the ways the symptoms that you endure cause you to limit or change the way you complete ordinary, everyday tasks. Talking with my clients and reviewing their medical records, I find that many of them do not properly communicate their limitations to their doctors and healthcare providers. By making a list of your functional limitations and communicating those limitations to your doctors, you gain a number of benefits. Not only do you give your doctors more information so they can better treat your conditions and symptoms; you also are building the evidence in the medical records to support your claim for Social Security Disability.
  • Keep a log or diary of your symptoms.

    • This is a continuation of that previous paragraph. After making a list of your functional limitations, keep a log of your symptoms and how they affect you. For example, if you suffer from seizures, keep a seizure log that details the date and time of the seizure, whether there was loss of consciousness, how long the seizure lasted, recovery time, etc.
  • Ask your treating physicians and healthcare providers to write a letter or complete a questionnaire to support your claim for Social Security Disability.

    • At Magnolia Disability Law Firm, we develop questionnaires that are customized to our specific Client’s condition for our clients to take to their doctors to complete. These questionnaires are designed to answer specific questions about your medical conditions that Social Security is looking for when making their disability decisions.
  • Ensure Social Security has all of your evidence.

    • Most of the denial letters that I see from prospective clients indicate that Social Security did not obtain all of the relevant medical evidence before making the determination that the individual was not disabled. Getting the records yourself can help make sure that all of your evidence is in the file.
    • Obtain medical and education records yourself and give them to Social Security. Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is a very slow process. One way to help speed this process (slightly) is to contact your healthcare providers and obtain your records yourself to give to Social Security.
  • Hire an experienced Representative that focuses on Social Security Disability law.

    • Hiring an experienced disability attorney or accredited representative[i] is the single most important thing you can do to increase your chances of being approved for Social Security disability benefits. A study by the government watchdog agency, Government Accountability Office, found that “claimants who had representatives, such as an attorney…, were allowed benefits at a rate nearly 3 times higher than those without representatives.”[ii]

At Magnolia Disability Law, we are passionate about helping adults with their Social Security Disability benefits. Over the years, we have represented hundreds of people throughout the country. We understand the frustrations you are facing, and we are eager to assist you in these complex matters. Whether you are applying for the first time or were denied and need to file an appeal, put our experience to good use.

Remember: While a representative cannot guarantee approval, their expertise significantly increases your chances of success. Don’t go through this challenging process alone. Invest in qualified disability representation and give yourself the best chance of securing the benefits you deserve.

Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: This blog article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please call our office for a free consultation with a qualified Disability Attorney or Representative for personalized guidance on your specific situation.

[i] Social Security Administration recognizes non-attorney representatives that have passed a rigorous test. These qualified disability representatives are called EDPNA: Eligible for Direct Pay Non-Attorney representatives.

[ii] https://www.hubbslegal.com/posts/gao-report-shows-positive-effect-representation