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All posts by Mary Mundall

Facebook and Social Security claims

I recently had a claimant ask if Social Security could have him followed. My response to this question: I am not sure what Social Security is and is not allowed to do in their investigations. What I can tell you is what I have learned from my experience with working at other firms for prosecuting attorneys. If we ever felt that someone was hiding something and we wanted to investigate them we would start by searching for them on Facebook. 75% of the people we searched for were found on Facebook and we were able to get all the evidence we needed off of their Facebook page. However, if we could not find them on Facebook we would end our investigation right there. Continue reading

That judge doesn’t even know me!

Have you ever wondered how a judge makes a decision on whether or not to approve your benefits? Your hearing is only going to be 45 minutes long and there is no way you are going to be able to paint a picture of your life in 45 minutes well enough for a judge to understand what you are truly going through. Surely you should have more time to explain your disability and make the judge understand why you should get approved, right?

When a judge is looking through your medical records he is going to find more than just your disability. The judge is getting a description of who you are. You records don’t only describe your pain or medical condition. They also detail your appearance, your demeanor and can even discuss your habits. This can be beneficial to your case as easily as it can harm your case. When you tell your doctor you don’t get much sleep at night that helps to prove your case of insomnia. However, it might not be the greatest  reference if you tell your doctor you are not getting much sleep at night because the new puppy you just got for Valentine’s Day is keeping you up. You may have had insomnia before you got the puppy but it won’t matter because the judge is only going to remember the puppy.

Doctors can also add notes to your records even when you are not in the office. These notes are usually because you did not show up for your appointment. These notes are also very damaging to your case.  You may think that the follow up appointment with your primary care physician is not important. The rash that he was following up on is gone AND you even called to cancel the appointment. Having a note in your file that you canceled that appointment is one of the worst notes about you. To a judge, that one note means that you are unwilling to follow medical treatment as directed and therefore unwilling to try and make yourself better.

In the end, your medical records are you on paper. Make sure that the doctor knows everything that you would want a judge to know because that is where the judge is going to get his information. Your records are the main aid in the judge’s decision on whether or not to approve your benefits.