I am often asked what is important for a successful Social Security claim. Please check out my top three suggestions for applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
1. Seek mental health treatment: Being disabled is depressing and the Social Security Disability process is very stressful. Seeing a psychiatrist does not mean you’re crazy, it actually means that you’re a normal person going through the depression that many who are disabled face day to day. It also tremendously helps your SSD/SSI case.
2. Never tell your doctor that you are “fine” when you’re not: When the doctor enters the room and asks “How are you today?” your response should not be “I’m fine” or “I’m great” if you’re not. This is the first thing a physician writes down and it is a sure way to kill any chance you have at a successful SSD/SSI claim. So as you’re giving your doctor information, make sure you want the judge to see it later. Remember to tell your doctor every problem you’re having and any medication side effects!
3. Hire an attorney who knows Social Security Disability: I frequently receive calls from people who have had their SSD/SSI cases mishandled. Often this is because the attorney does not know SSD/SSI law. This is similar to choosing a foot doctor for a heart problem. If an attorney is knowledgeable in Social Security cases you will have a much better chance at having a successful claim. Finally, there are non-attorney representatives who represent individuals seeking Social Security benefits. Some are knowledgeable about Social Security matters; however, many are not. Buyer beware! Sometimes there is no recourse against non-attorney representatives for gross negligence.