Shhh… Top 10 Secrets to Winning your Social Security Disability Claim!

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Navigating the Social Security disability claims process can be a daunting task with many obstacles. At Quikaid, we firmly believe that individuals seeking access to essential life-saving benefits should be equipped with the following knowledge to enhance their chances of success.

These carefully curated insights, cultivated through years of unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence in navigating SSDI and SSI claims, aim to redefine your approach and enhance your likelihood of approval. It's imperative to note that while this information does not constitute legal counsel, we at Quikaid firmly believe it will serve as a valuable resource in your pursuit of rightful benefits. 

It is with great pride that we present our top ten secrets to winning your Social Secuirty disability claim! 

10. Approach the process with a Determined Attitude, but not with an attitude of Entitlement

It is important that the Administrative Law Judge understands that you do not WANT to be on Social Security disability; rather, it is important to impress upon the judge that this is really your only option. Your medical situation doesn’t allow you to work full time. Convey to the judge that your goal isn't a life on disability but necessary to access financial benefits and medical care.
Judges are always trying to determine the credibility of your claim; what are your true motivations? They will pick up on your attitude and will ask questions to better understand your situation, your goals and your reason for applying for SSDI. Conveying a desire, but an inability, to reenter the workforce can positively influence their decision. Having a humble and determined attitude, based on real facts, not a desire for a “hand out” can really enhance your chances of winning a disability case.

9. Avoid Any Hint of Malingering or Drug Seeking Behavior

Judges frown upon perceived misuse of medical services and prescriptions. Accordingly, steer clear of any suggestion or implication that you may be exhibiting drug-seeking behavior. Transparently communicate your medication preferences with your doctors.
Judges also frown upon what the Social Security Administration calls 'Drugs and Alcohol Abuse', or 'DAA issues'. If you have excessive amounts of drugs and or alcohol abuse reference in your medical records, this can be very damaging to your claim. Drugs and alcohol abuse are not considered disabling conditions by the Social Security Administration and, if there DAA issues present in your medical records, the judge will have to determine that your underlying medical conditions would persist even in the absence of drug and alcohol abuse. 
Lastly, if there is evidence in your record of malingering – which is basically exaggerating or faking illness for purposes of not having to work – this is highly unlikely to result in a favorable disability decision. In short, judges don’t like malingering or drug and alcohol abuse and if you have these issues in your record, it can make for a very difficult claim to be approved.

8. Have a Specific and Clear Medical Diagnosis

Your Social Security Disabilty case really needs to be built on a solid medical diagnosis. Ambiguous, non-severe or uncertain medical conditions pose challenges in terms of winning disability claims. A clear diagnosis supported by objective medical tests really strengthens your case.
When someone says they have a bad back, but it is not supported by any medical findings, it is a very difficult claim to be approved. The same can be said about mental health; it is important to have a specific mental health diagnosis and related treatment. Simply complaining of depression, with no diagnosis and no treatment, is highly unlikely to be a solid basis for an approval.

7. Your Testimony at Your Hearing Matters

A great Social Security disability case is one in which the medical evidence is consistent with what the claimant says at the Hearing. When the medical records say one thing, and you say something totally different, that is generally a problem.
Likewise, if you claim verbally to have a specific impairment that is not reflected in your medical evidence, this also can make your claim incredibly difficult to get approved. Consistency translates into credibility, which is an important characteristic in a winning SSDI claim.
So, while your testimony matters at the Hearing, it is important that your testimony is consistent with the other information presented in your case.

6. Don't Go Through This Process Alone

Entering your disability hearing with professional assistance is advisable. An attorney or a non-attorney representative can navigate legal nuances, optimizing your limited time in front of the judge.
We liken it to hiring a tax professional to help you with your taxes. Obtaining SSDI is an incredibly complex process and having a seasoned advocate on your side really does help. In one Social Security study, they showed that SSDI claimants who had professional representation were three times more likely to be approved for benefits than those who do not have professional representation. You can hire a non-attorney representative, who specializes exclusively in Social Security disability representation, or you can hire an attorney, but attorneys often do not focus exclusively on SSDI representation.
The most important thing is to find a professional firm that you like and that has been in business and has the experience necessary to get your claim approved. But, we would strongly discourage you from trying to manage this complex process on your own.

5. Prepare for Your Hearing

Your Hearing with the Administrative Law Judge represents the best chance you have to get your claim approved. Accordingly, be prepared.
You and your representative should discuss what to expect at the Hearing, what points to emphasize, what points to de-emphasize, etc. Anticipate questions and be prepared with compelling answers to avoid being caught off guard, ensuring a well-presented case.
We’ve seen disability Hearings that last only a few minutes, and we’ve seen hearings that last well over an hour. It depends on the judge’s preference and style and the complexity of your case. Because this is typically your only opportunity to speak to the judge, it is essential that you are prepared and that you make the most out of this opportunity.
Your professional representative will also be prepared and will work with you to ensure the facts of your case are understood and presented in the best possible light.

4. Adhere to Your Doctor’s Prescribed Medications

Strict adherence to prescribed medications is crucial. Judges expect full compliance.
If your doctor has prescribed a specific medication, but you do not take the medication as prescribed, the judge will wonder, “What if he or she took the medication? Maybe this would solve the problem.” We have lost many cases because our client admitted to the judge that they do not take the medication prescribed by their treating professional medical doctor. Judges assume you utilize modern medical techniques to try to improve your medical condition. If they get the sense you are not doing your end of the deal, then they will likely deny you.
If you encounter side effects, communicate openly with your doctor to see if adjustments can be made. Open communication with your doctor is essential to ensure your medical record accurately reflects your situation. But not taking prescribed medications and missing doctor’s appointments represent an easy way for a judge to deny your claim.

3. Translate Medical Information to Work Capacity

It’s funny, while Social Security wants to know what you have been diagnosed with, their evaluation of your claim will center more around how your diagnosis affects your functional ability.
For example, one person who has diabetes mellitus might not be able to walk effectively, whereas another person with diabetes mellitus can only play tennis 5 times per week! So, it is not the diagnosis that matters, it is how that diagnosis affects you, and specifically how it affects your ability to perform work-like activities.
In the above example, the person who is not able to effectively ambulate would likely be found disabled under Social Security rules, but the tennis player would not. So, it is important that you express your medical information in terms of work capacity limitations, which aligns with Social Security's language and rules. Obtain a functional capacity evaluation or a narrative report from your doctor to articulate how your medical condition impacts your ability to work.
Again, it is critical that the judge understands how your diagnosis and symptoms affect your functional capacity.

2. Do What Social Security and Your Representative Ask You To Do Throughout the Process

We consider the process of obtaining disability benefits a process of teamwork. And your team is counting on you to do your part to help the team.
Social Security cannot evaluate your claim without your input. Your disability representative cannot build an effective case without your input and cooperation. You also need your doctor or doctors on your team. Ideally, you will also have friends and family members who can be part of your team and support you on this important journey. But this is not a situation of filing your claim and waiting for a decision. It will require at least some active participation on your behalf. You need to have a working cell phone, a valid mailing address, ideally an email address, and ideally have access to a computer.
There will be many points during the process during which you will have to wait. It will feel like nothing is happening, even though your team is working on your case. A great representation firm will keep you up-to-date and work with you to build your claim. But you need to do your part and do everything you can to ensure your claim is ultimately approved. Be a great team player!

1. Obtain Consistent Medical Treatment Throughout the Process

It is virtually impossible to win a disability case without medical evidence. What you say largely doesn’t matter, but what your medical records say truly does all the talking in terms of the judge’s evaluation of your case. Maintaining a consistent medical treatment history is critical.
At Quikaid, we recommend you receive medical treatment at least every 3 months, and depending on the nature of your medical issues, it could require more frequent treatment. One of the complaints we hear a lot is that our clients are not able to obtain consistent medical treatment. They may not have transportation; they may not have health insurance; they may not have the financial capability to obtain the necessary treatment. We recognize those situations are sad and disappointing.
However, the judge’s job is not to evaluate the validity or your reason for not getting medical treatment. The judge’s job is to evaluate evidence regarding your medical diagnosis, symptoms and impact on your ability to perform work. So, it is critical that you find a way to receive medical treatment to substantiate your disability claim throughout the process. Judges love to see comprehensive, uninterrupted medical treatment, and gaps in treatment can weaken the credibility of your claim, thereby increasing the likelihood of an unfavorable determination.
Our number one secret is to find a way to get medical treatment, so we will have the evidence we need to get your claim approved! 

Top 10 Secrets to Winning your Social Security Disability Claim


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