A surprisingly high number of initial disability applications are rejected; the denial rate has consistently been between 60 and 65 percent over the past 20 years. Despite these numbers, many of those applicants who follow through and pursue the appeal process are often pleased to learn they are awarded benefits at the administrative hearing phase. One explanation for this discrepancy may be found in how the primary evidence the Social Security Administration evaluates is presented by a disability applicant.
It is important that the applicant provide his or her complete medical record. Equally essential, however, is the medical record must demonstrate that the individual followed the doctor’s recommendations and did all that was possible to improve. Even when finances are strained and little or no improvement is seen, a person applying for disability must follow through.
The opinions of the applicant’s physicians are of great interest to the SSA. Nonetheless, the SSA places no value on a doctor’s conclusion that his or her patient is disabled; that determination is for the SSA to make. Rather, the SSA looks to the doctor for information on the extent of the applicant’s limitations on completing physical and mental tasks related to working.
THE APPLICANT’S TESTIMONY
Both in the initial application and later at the disability hearing, how the applicant explains his or her limitations on working and tending to the chores of daily living can be critical. Many times, medical records and doctor opinions cannot provide the full picture, especially when it comes to issues of pain, for example. The most primary point your Greensboro disability lawyers will emphasize is the importance of being consistent; anything less will raise the specter of credibility.
THE TESTIMONY OF OTHERS
Family, a friend, a co-worker, or a boss may be able to offer insight into an applicant’s impairments. Once again, honesty and consistency will be of paramount value.