HOW TO PROVE DISABILITY IN 2017 AND BEYOND

Posted on March 11th, 2017

All of the regulatory and policy changes make it now more important than ever that you retain a skilled lawyer to represent you in your disability claim.

While one must still submit medical records that prove disability, the need is far greater to explain what these medical records prove and how interfere or preclude working. The lawyer must be able to understand what is medically wrong with the claimant, how these problems manifest themselves in the masses of medical records, and then convey this to SSA to prove how it fits into SSA’s criteria for disability. Lawyers with little medical training and little experience in dealing with the multitude of SSA Regulations, Rulings, policies, and nooks and crannies are not going to be of much value to their clients.

It has always been my observation, in now my 42nd year of working with SSA claims; that SSA denies what it does not understand. SSA’s adjudicators reasonably understand coronary artery disease, herniated discs, emphysema. They do not understand (or do not want to understand) newer diseases, environmental issues, more subjective claims such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. The lawyer has to understand these better to present them better to SSA. Taking the Sworn Statement of a treating physician, a practice routinely used by this law firm, serves to better explain what is wrong medically, how it produces pain, fatigue, or other forms of dysfunction, and how it specifically interferes with your client’s ability to work.

Obviously claimants must continue to be treated by their doctors. Wining a Workers Compensation claim, a VA claim, an auto accident case, etc., does not end the need to see doctors. Without seeing doctors there is no continuing medical paperwork as proof of disability. An old MRI or other diagnostic test might have some minimal current value as to disability but it does not prove current status.

Do not take for granted that SSA will merely assume your condition is still the same or worse based on a remote medical test or doctor’s report. SSA wants and needs current evidence and opinion. Even if your doctors cannot treat or cure a particular disease, this is not grounds to stop seeing the doctor. Even if a doctor cannot help you medically, he/she can still help you legally to prove disability.

The claimant must also be better able to remember what doctors he has seen, when hospitalized, etc. to provide this to the attorney. You never know where you will find buried medical treasure. SSA also requires a far more detailed medical history to see if it can find more unfavorable evidence.