Published March 8, 2012
By Robertson H. Wendt
As noted in a recent article, a long-term disability can be trying, but the Social Security disability (SSD) program is there to help – if you know how to navigate the system. If you’re filing a claim for SSD benefits, there are ways to increase your chances of approval.
One key factor is your doctor’s determination that you are in fact disabled and unable to work. If your claim is denied, it’s because the SSD-assigned government doctors determined your medical conditions were not disabling. Under SSD law, the opinion of a treating doctor is given greater weight than those of government doctors. Therefore, it’s essential that your doctor supports your claim and makes an accurate assessment of your limitations.
Second, it’s important to continue seeking medical attention. Many disability claimants have difficulty affording continued medical care due to lost insurance or income. Nonetheless, you should seek the opinion of your treating physician, and provide a current record of treatment to prove your symptoms and limitations. You may also want to talk to your doctor about whether you should be evaluated by a specialist.
It’s also important to follow your doctor’s orders, as a failure to continue treatment can negatively affect the outcome of a disability claim. Likewise, be open and honest with all parties – including your doctor and the SSA. Inconsistent records will cause issues when it comes to getting your claim approved.
In addition to these issues, there are other factors that affect the likelihood of being approved. We will cover those further in upcoming articles. After practicing in disability law for nearly 30 years, I’ve learned a great deal about the intricacies of this system and hope to share those with you to simplify the process and to get the help you need, hopefully. Keep an eye here or check out www.robertsonwendt.com for more insight.
Robertson H. Wendt, a Charleston attorney, is a board certified Social Security disability specialist. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-723-6555.