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Win SSDI for a serious condition in three steps

Many disability applicants wonder what they need to do to win SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) for a serious health condition. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have applied for disability benefits several times but keep getting denied. Do you have any tips for winning SSDI benefits?” disability-attorney-help Assuming you meet basic SSDI requirements (i.e., your condition will last 12 continuous months, you are not working, and you have sufficient work credits), you will only win SSDI benefits if you have a diagnosis, prognosis, and medical information which clearly states that you do not have the residual capacity to work. In fact, according to the SSA, “Medical evidence is the cornerstone of the disability determination process for winning SSDI benefits.”

Let’s take a closer look at three steps you need to take to win SSDI:

  1. Go to the doctor and get proper care.

According to the SSA, information for your condition must come from an acceptable medical source. This means you will need to go to the proper doctor and have them assess the severity of your condition. Acceptable medical sources can include licensed medical or osteopathic doctors, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists, and qualified speech-language pathologists. You do not have to gather the medical information on your own, but you must give the SSA contact information about your doctors, including their names, addresses, and treatment dates. The SSA will then gather the information directly from your doctors.
  1. Ensure you have the right medical evidence.

Although you do not have to gather all of your own medical evidence to win SSDI, it’s important you know what is in your medical file. The SSA is specifically looking for “a detailed longitudinal picture of the claimant's impairment(s), including timely, accurate, and adequate medical reports from treating sources.” Reports that can be submitted by your doctors to prove you are disabled include information about your medical history, clinical findings, laboratory findings, diagnostic reports, prognostic reports, and residual functional capacity reports.
  1. Make sure your medical information gives evidence you cannot work.

One of the biggest mistakes claimants make is failing to understand what they are trying to prove to the SSA to win SSDI. Remember, SSDI is only given to claimants who do not have the functional capacity to work. With this in mind, all of your medical information should provide evidence of the extent your impairment(s) affects your ability to function in a work setting. In addition to medical evidence you can provide other information to the SSA to strengthen your claim, including data from other sources (e.g., public and private agencies, schools, parents, caregivers, social workers, employers, naturopaths, chiropractors, and audiologists).

What if I do not have a doctor?

If the SSA does not have sufficient medical evidence to make a disability determination they may request that you see a consultative examiner. Unfortunately, these consultative examinations can be cursory, and claimants claim they generally do not help their case. The best course of action to win SSDI is always to get medical care from your own doctor who understands the limitations of your condition and how it limits your ability to work. Recent Articles: ADHD and diagnosing it as an adult