Erisa Lawyer banner

“I think I am disabled”

In many discussions our office has had with new clients we are told, or come to find, only a couple of conditions have been listed with the Social Security Administration office when the application was filed. During subsequent conversations we come to discover there is much more going on than just the one or two conditions or symptoms that are affecting our clients. I cannot stress enough how important it is to consider ALL of what is preventing you from working. So many of us want to dismiss the “minor” discomforts for as long as possible for sake of it being just than – a discomfort. Many others dismiss the “minor” issues as more serious conditions begin to develop. After a point, they start to find the “minor” issues aren’t so minor any more but they’re still nothing compared to what the “real” issue is.

You’ve put up with all these issues for so long, have tried your hardest to find ways to keep working, accommodations have been made by your boss, but you’ve come to the hard realization that you just can’t keep up the pace. You finally file a disability claim and are faced with the question to list your conditions and/or symptoms. You explain that you’ve got scoliosis, or congestive heart failure or even cancer. The SSA Rep takes your information, your file is processed, and the way your doctors have discussed your prognosis with you, it should be a “slam-dunk”. Then comes the heart-break denial notice and you ask yourself, “why?”

The SSA will not always read “in between the lines” when reading application information or even medical records. What you list in your application might be the only things the SSA will bother looking for when they are reviewing your records to determine if you are disabled per their definitions and regulations. You might be dealing with cancer, but what about the rheumatoid arthritis plaguing your joints or entire body? Carpal tunnel affecting your dominant or both hands? What about the fatigue? Chronic pain? Maybe even side effects from medications keeping you fuzzy-headed or so sick to your stomach that you don’t want to bother taking them?

The larger picture must be painted in a few words as possible in order to get the point across in a disability claim. Mr. Davis wrote an article which puts it all in perspective. It is sound advice – explain everything as a laundry list, not a novel or even a short-story of the past eight months. Less is more and too much can get lost in translation. Use this tip when communicating with the SSA, with your doctors, even with your family so they can understand what is going on.