How to Document Your Disability [infographic]
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will require as much documentation as possible to prove the disability of those applying for benefits. Inadequate documentation can sabotage legitimate disability claims. Here are ways of documenting disability that make claims much stronger.
Medical records are the most important and persuasive documents. Gathering all medical records since the symptoms were first seen will help the SSA see how long the disability has lasted and how it has progressed. Some of the documents that will help show the severity of the disability include:
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital records
- Prescription lists
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The SSA can ask for copies of documents or further clarification. Therefore, it is crucial to keep medical records easily accessible and well organized during the claims process.
Treating Medical Provider’s Testimony
The SSA gives the primary care physician’s testimony much weight, provided it has an accurate medical basis. One way of getting a physician’s testimony is by having him or her write a recommendation of disability. An applicant can then include this official recommendation in his or her application. The doctor can also fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, which helps show all the ways that a disability is limiting the applicant.
When awarding disability benefits, the SSA wants to be sure that applicants have tried everything they could to treat their medical issues. Including a complete list of previous and current medications with the application helps show the severity of a patient’s disability.
Testimony from Previous Employer or Colleague
Applicants are more likely to receive benefits the more that they can prove their inability to work. As a result, testimonies from employers and coworkers are important. Workplace files, records and letters can provide insight into how an applicant’s disability hindered his or her capabilities, safety, or efficiency.
Disability Attorney’s Testimony
An attorney for disability claims is knowledgeable about the entire process of filing for benefits, including the necessary qualifications and documentation required. Testimony from the attorney can be hugely beneficial in a disability case. Research has shown approval rates to be higher for applicants who work with disability attorneys. An attorney will help an applicant fill out applications and organize paperwork, as well as provide professional assistance during appeals.
Applicants increase their chances of receiving disability benefits by adequately documenting medical conditions and their effects on their daily lives and jobs.