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SSDI: Before You File Your Claim

Get Your Medical Affairs In Order

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Get regular, ongoing medical treatment from mainstream doctors.

  • The strongest medical evidence about your claim will be that in spite of your following every medical treatment recommended by your mainstream doctors, you are still unable to work.
  • It's difficult to win SSDI without the help of a medical professional who supports your application. Great weight is given to the opinions of treating doctor(s).
  • Your case becomes even stronger if the recommendations are from a doctor who is a specialist in your health condition and has observed you over a period of time.
  • If it's financially difficult to see a doctor on a regular basis, at least try to be seen at a free clinic, county health department or emergency room. Perhaps your state's Vocational Rehabilitation department can assist you in getting examined.

If you haven't been seeing a mental health professional, consider seeing one now.

  • It is very common for a mental condition such as depression or a nervous condition to accompany a diagnosis and living as a survivor.
  • A mental condition such as depression may be enough to qualify you as disabled for purposes of Social Security. If it is not enough on its own, it may be enough when when combined with a physical condition when the physicial condition is not sufficient on its own or is border line.
  • For information about choosing a mental health professional, click here.

Review your medical records to learn what, if anything, they include about your symptoms and how they affect:

  • Your ability to work.
  • Your activities of daily living.

From now on, at each visit, tell your doctor about your physical and mental difficulties and how they impact your daily living as well as your inability to undertake work tasks.

  • Look at the Work and Daily Activities Worksheets which will become important once you apply for SSDI and/or SSI. The worksheets will give you an idea of the kind of information to tell your doctor. To learn more, see: Work Activities Worksheet, Daily Activities Worksheet.
  • Every time you see a doctor, ask that this information be noted in your medical record.

When you're ready to apply, be sure your doctor is supportive. A supportive doctor(s) who is willing to take the time needed to help you keep and retain a disability income is necessary for a variety of reasons:

  • Few disability claims are approved strictly on the basis of lab results or other objective data. Your medical record and statements by your doctor are usually critical to approval of a claim. If a claim is initially denied, a doctor or doctors will be needed at each step of the appeal. The doctrors will be needed to provide information, and to rebut the payor's point of view.
  • Once your claim is approved, your records and a doctor statement are likely to be requested periodically as long as you continue to receive a disability income. If the payor wants to stop payment, a doctor's support will be necessary to rebut the payor's claims why you are no longer "disabled."
  • It is helpful if the doctor not only writes reports, but is willing to let you and/or a representative review them prior to submission, and then to rewrite as needed. A review makes sure that all the relevant facts are included and that those facts are stated in a manner most likely to get your claim approved.

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