1. Medical Treatment:
It is important that you receive ongoing treatment for your medical condition. You must follow the treatment set out by your doctor. Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Do NOT take medication from other family members. You should NOT MISS your appointments with your doctor. By attending appointments and following your doctors’ recommendations, there will be more information available to submit to Social Security.
2. Talk to Your Doctor:
When have a doctor’s appointment, make sure that you are explaining your symptoms to your doctor. Have a list of your problems ready to mention to you doctor. Also talk to your doctor about running the appropriate diagnostic tests. For example, if you have back pain with radiating pain into your legs, you may need to get an MRI and an EMG. Keep in mind that your doctor’s records are the proof and documentation of all your medical problems. Social Security will rely on those records and reports.
3. Obtain Functional Assessment:
Our office will work with your doctors to obtain a functional assessment. This document will describe your problems with sitting, standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, working, etc. Obtaining this information from your doctor is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things we can do to win your case. Social Security doctors will always provide an assessment. But these are usually not very helpful. Your doctors are in the best position to provide a MORE ACCURATE assessment of your condition.
4. Stop Using Alcohol and/or Drugs:
In order to obtain disability benefits, the law instructs us to show that you are disabled INDEPENDENTLY of drugs and alcohol. If you continue to use drugs and alcohol, it becomes increasingly more difficult to show that you are disabled independently of drugs and alcohol. Remember – you are applying for a Federal benefit. Although marijuana may be legally obtained in Rhode Island for medical purposes, it is NOT LEGAL under the Social Security Administration. We recommend that you STOP USING all alcohol and drugs, even marijuana. This is especially true if you are disabled because of a mental condition.
5. Hire an Experienced Attorney:
People think that if they tell SSA about their medical problems, they should be able to win their disability case. Unfortunately, the truth is that the Social Security disability process can be complicated and confusing. An experienced attorney will assess your case and create a theory of how the specific issues can be approached. All cases are unique. Some cases involve a date last insured, earnings after onset date, durational issues, transferability issues, etc. If this sounds complicated, you’re right. It is. You need a skilled attorney who can identify these issues, explain these issues and problems to you, and resolve these areas with Social Security.