Suggestions from an Oklahoma City disability lawyer on what you can do to improve your chances

Clients at my Oklahoma City disability law firm, often ask me, “What can I do to help my disability claim?” Here are some suggestions that you can follow to help strengthen your claim.

See your doctor to have your condition evaluated. Social Security requires a lot of medical documentation. To get benefits, you must have a “medically determinable impairment” that keeps you from working. Medical examinations and tests are necessary to prove you have a medical problem. If you haven’t seen a doctor, Social Security may send you to a doctor for an examination at its expense. But this one-time examination won’t be as thorough as records from a doctor who has seen you regularly. Plus, your treating doctor can provide an opinion to Social Security about how your condition affects your ability to work. A favorable opinion from your treating doctor [Link to tabbed article on how doctor can help] is very powerful evidence that you are disabled.

Tell your doctor every symptom that you experience. Social Security applicants often make the mistake of not mentioning all of their symptoms to their doctors. Even symptoms you consider to be minor can have a significant effect on your claim. Minor symptoms may signal a hidden condition that requires further investigation by your doctor. Minor symptoms may interfere with your ability to work more than you think. Before you visit your doctor, write down all your complaints so you won’t forget to mention any of them. Social Security will consider the complete picture of how all your symptoms limit your ability to work. Therefore, you want to make sure that all your symptoms are documented in your medical records.

Stick with the prescribed treatment. Make sure you take your medications, follow your diet, do your physical therapy, and so forth. Don’t miss any scheduled follow-up visits with your doctor. If you don’t stick with your treatment regimen, Social Security may decide that your condition can’t be as bad as you claim. Social Security decision makers will likely think that if your condition were truly causing you distress, you would be doing everything possible to alleviate it.

If the treatment doesn’t work, ask for a different treatment. If the treatments prescribed by your doctor don’t help you, make sure you tell your doctor. Continue to visit your doctor and ask for different treatments. Request a referral to a specialist or pain management clinic. Your persistence in seeking treatment will help persuade Social Security that your symptoms are really troubling.

Try to see a specialist. If you possibly can, try to see a doctor who specializes in treating people with your condition. Social Security tends to give more weight to the opinions of specialists.

Keep good records. You will need to provide Social Security with details about your medical condition, treatments, and medications. You will find it easier to supply this information if you have kept records. Pick up business cards for each doctor you see so you will have the doctor’s address and phone number and keep your pill bottles as a record of your medications and dosages. Make a note on your calendar of all your appointment dates.

Always tell the truth. Doubts about your truthfulness are very damaging to your claim. Inconsistent statements, mistakes, exaggerations, and memory lapses call your credibility into question.

For a free evaluation of your Oklahoma disability claim

If you are applying for disability benefits or if your application has been denied and you would like assistance with your appeal, please contact the Oklahoma City Social Security lawyer for a free evaluation of your claim. Simply complete the form on this page and we will respond promptly. Or phone or email us, if you prefer.

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