Applying for Social Security
Disability Benefits: Do’s and Don’ts
An experienced attorney can provide the most help in your case at the appeal level. In fact, many Tennessee Social Security disability attorneys won’t even take your case until after you have been denied once. However, there are some steps you can take when filing your initial application for benefits that will help your chances of being awarded benefits. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you are applying:
- Do apply for disability benefits if you have a physical or mental disability that makes you unable to work and:
- Has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months.
- Is objectively documented by appropriate medical tests.
- Do be honest when answering questions for the Social Security Administration. Lying about or exaggerating the symptoms of your disability will ultimately hurt your chances of receiving benefits. But be sure not to minimize your symptoms, either. A good way to illustrate the extent of your disability without seeming like you are exaggerating is by providing plenty of detail. If you have good and bad days, say so, and explain what you can do on a good day and what you can do on a bad day. You don’t need to be completely bedridden to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. You just need to be unable to do sustained work activity in a regular job environment.
- Don’t rely on a doctor’s diagnosis. The Social Security Administration cares about symptoms and limitations, not your medical diagnosis. Unless your disability is severe enough to meet a listing in the Listing of Impairments (and most claimants’ disabilities are not), you will need to provide information about how your disability limits your ability to do daily activities. In other words, you won’t be awarded disability benefits because you have arthritis; you will be awarded benefits because your arthritis keeps you from working. Explain why and how it keeps you from working.
- Don’t get hung up on irrelevant issues The economy is bad and jobs are hard to come by for disabled and non-disabled people alike. This does not matter to the Social Security Administration. Other issues that the Social Security Administration sees as irrelevant include:
- A certain job does not exist in your geographic region.
- A certain job does not pay enough to support your family.
- You may not be likely to be hired for a certain job.
- You may not like a certain job.
Instead of arguing these points, focus your efforts on proving that you cannot do any job that exists in the national economy. If your application for Social Security disability benefits has been turned down, please contact Columbia Social Security disability lawyer Susan Clasbey to schedule a free evaluation of your claim.
Susan D. Clasbey
Columbia Tennessee disability lawyer
1105 South Main Street
Columbia, Tennessee 38401