Attorney Steve Bradt, of Bradt Law Offices, has been successfully handling Social Security disability claims for nearly 30 years. While every case is different and not every case can be won, there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of winning your claim. This is the advice that we give to our clients early in every case:
Visit Your Doctor
One of the most important factors considered by Social Security in your claim will be the medical evidence. You have to understand that every person, who appears before every Social Security judge, in every case, tells the judge “I can’t work because I am disabled”. Obviously, Social Security cannot approve every single claim that is filed. Therefore, they will look very carefully at the medical evidence to see if it establishes the disability that you are claiming. If you haven’t been to see a doctor about a particular condition or claimed disability, there won’t be any evidence of that disability. While this seems like common sense, we are surprised every day at the number of people we speak with who claim to be disabled but haven’t sought medical treatment or haven’t been to a doctor in several months or years.
If you have ongoing medical problems which you feel are disabling, you should visit a doctor regularly for treatment. This helps Social Security see that you have a condition which has been diagnosed and treated and is consistent with the disability you might be claiming.
Follow the Treatment Recommendations of Your Medical Providers
It is very important that you follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations or use the medications prescribed for you. Many times, a Social Security judge will ask a claimant why they haven’t tried a particular form of treatment or why they are not using medication. If the judge believes that you might be able to work or that your disabling condition could be controlled if you were following your doctors instructions, you may lose your case. On the other hand, if you can a tell the judge that you have tried everything your doctors have recommended but you are still disabled, you have a much stronger case.
Unfortunately, not everyone has health insurance or the financial ability to get treatment. If you are in that situation, make sure to explain to the judge why you haven’t been able to get all the treatment a doctor might have recommended for you.
Make Sure That Your Lifestyle Is Consistent with Your Claim of Disability
If you are claiming to be disabled from work, then your lifestyle should be consistent with that claim. In other words, if you tell a Social Security judge that you cannot work but are still able to hunt, fish, bowl, golf, hike, etc., the judge will not likely be persuaded that you are not capable of working. A Social Security judge will look very closely at the physical activities you are able to perform on a daily basis. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that the judge understands that any physical activities you perform are only done on a very limited basis as your medical condition allows. For example, you may still do some fishing or hunting, but you’ll need to explain that it is on an extremely limited basis, if at all, and is not anything at all like the fishing or hunting you enjoyed before you became disabled.
Tell the Truth
Perhaps the single most important thing you have going for you at a Social Security hearing is your credibility. If the Social Security judge believes your testimony, you have the best chance to win your claim. It is understandable that you may be in a desperate financial situation and feel the need to exaggerate your symptoms or disabling conditions in order to win the case. Don’t do it. If the judge suspects that you are exaggerating or being less than honest on any issues, she may find all of your testimony unbelievable and deny your claim. A key part of many claims is the amount of pain that you are experiencing and which might prevent you from working. It is essential that the judge believes you when you describe your level of pain and how it keeps you from working. If the judge doesn’t believe that aspect of your claim, , you will most likely lose.
If you have questions about a Social Security disability claim, please feel free to contact Bradt Law Offices for your absolutely free consultation. We have been handling Social Security disability claims all across northern Minnesota for nearly 30 years and are always happy to discuss your claim at any stage of the claim process. We can discuss your claim over the phone or arrange for a meeting in our office.
If you have other questions about Social Security disability claims, you can visit our website where we have a list of common questions and answers, including:
1. What are Social Security disability benefits?
2. How much will I receive if Social Security decides I’m disabled?
3. How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?
4. What do I do if my claim is denied?
5. When should I hire a lawyer to represent me?
6. How do I pay a lawyer in a Social Security disability case?
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