Applying for Social Security disability benefits explained by our Social Security disability lawyers

In helping thousands of Ohio Social Security disability claimants we have learned what works and what does not. Here are some simple rules to remember.

If you have a severe physical or mental disability that (1) has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months and (2) is documented by medically accepted tests and diagnostic techniques and (3) renders you unable to work.

The Social Security Administration requires a lot of medical documentation. The Social Security Administration assumes that if your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working, then it is severe enough to require doctor visits, lab tests, prescription medications, etc., and it wants to see these records. You can help by signing the medical consent forms (records releases) and providing the Social Security Administration (and your Social Security disability lawyer, if you have one) with a complete list of all your medical providers.

The Social Security Administration does not expect you to remember the date of every doctor visit or the results of every test. You can, though, help your case by keeping detailed records of your medical treatment and your symptoms. Consider keeping a separate calendar dedicated to medical appointments. Keep a file that contains the business cards of all your doctors; add a new card to this file each time you visit a new doctor. Don’t throw away empty prescription bottles; they can be a quick and easy source of information about your medication history. Consider keeping a diary or journal in which you note your symptoms and how you are feeling each day. Keep track of good days and bad days – days that your symptoms would keep you home from work if you had a job.

The administrative law judge will assess your credibility. If you lose this, your chance of success is diminished significantly.

While it is true that most initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied, more than half of the claimants who are persistent and appeal are ultimately awarded benefits.