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SSDI: What Can Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Residents Do to Help Their Social Security Disability Cases?

The following post is part of our Law Student Blog Writing Project, and is authored by Madelyn Stampley, a law clerk at Lawrence and Associates, who is pursuing her Juris Doctorate at NKU Chase College of Law.

In order to receive social security disability, you must go through a five-step sequential evaluation process by the Cincinnati branch of the Social Security Administration. During the fifth and final step of the sequential evaluation, the Social Security Administration must prove that work exists for you in the national economy that you will be able to adjust to considering your impairment(s), age, education, and past work experience. If they cannot prove that work exists for you, then you are found disabled. To have a ruling in your favor, there are a few simple things you can do to help. Attending all of your medical appointments and keeping a log of all of those appointments is very helpful. Making sure to also track your symptoms, your medications, and the side-effects of your medications. Lastly, making sure your doctor is writing detailed medical reports and stating his medical opinion about your impairments and how they limit your abilities in your work life can be extremely helpful to lead to getting disability.

Firstly, making sure that you attend all of your medical appointments is very important to your claim. In Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, the Social Security Administration uses your medical records to determine if you are disabled or not. If you fail to attend your medical appointments that also means you are failing to obtain medical records, which means the Social Security Administration will have nothing to base their determination off of for your disability. The more medical records you have the more proof you have to show that you are severely and permanently impaired and ultimately unable to work.

Secondly, along with attending your medical appointments, keeping a log of all your appointments helps your case as well. Write down when and where you were treated, who you treated with, and what impairment you were treated for. It makes it easier for your attorney to obtain the proper medical records and have a record of every time you went to the doctor. Along with keeping a log of your appointments, also make sure to track your symptoms. Keeping a daily log of your impairments and how they affect you gives your attorney more information that they can use to win the case. Along with this, also track your medications with their corresponding side effects. Keeping a log of everything speeds along the social security process and helps everything run more smoothly.

When you go to your medical appointments it is also important to ask your doctor to write detailed and clear medical reports. Generally, when doctors write their medical records, they are writing them for themselves. They often times neglect being too detailed and instead write quick and concise notes. Ask your doctor for a medical report that includes a detailed narrative that explains all of your impairments and functional limitations. The Social Security Administration reads through all of your records and a detailed narrative is very helpful to you case.

You should also ask your doctor to include his medical opinion in your medical reports. Have your doctor state whether or not they believe that you are so severely and permanently disabled that you should not and cannot return to work. While the Social Security Administration will not take your doctor’s opinion as their answer, having your doctor’s opinion in your medical records can help prove that you are disabled. It never hurts to have more than one opinion attesting to your disability.

Along with asking your doctor for a more detailed medical report, also ask them to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) report as early in the process as you can. A Residual Functional Capacity report is an accounting of your capacity for full-time work. It allows your doctor to check off boxes allocating your limitations, like how much you can lift, how far you can walk, and whether you can bend or stoop. It is a great way for the Social Security Administration to get the information they need to make a determination of your disability.

Another thing you can do to help your case is making sure you are seeing the appropriate doctors for your impairments. While it is convenient to see the same doctor for everything, it is important to make sure you are receiving care from doctors that specialize in the area in which you need treatment for. For instance, instead of seeing your primary care physician for your mental health impairments, you should see a doctor who specializes in mental health, like a psychiatrist. This will ensure that you are getting the best possible medical records and opinions from someone who specializes in the disability that you have.

Lastly, strong communication and cooperation with your attorney is very important. It is crucial that you come to all of your meetings with your attorney and are easy to get a hold of. Making sure to fill out the forms we give you correctly and in a timely manner helps the social security process move along quickly. If you have questions about the process or are confused about something asked on one of your forms you have to fill out, it is best to contact your attorney instead of guessing.

The fifth step of the sequential evaluation by the Social Security Administration is the final step in determining if you are considered disabled or not. If they cannot prove that work exists for you, then you are found disabled. There are several ways you can help bring about the result you want in this fifth step along with your case as a whole. Make sure to attend all of your medical appointments so that the Social Security Administration has medical records to base their ruling off of. Obtaining good medical records and opinions by the appropriate doctors as well as having your doctor fill out a Residual Functional Capacity report goes a long way. Keeping a detailed log of your symptoms, your medication and its side effects, and a list of all of your medical appointment dates and your provider is also very helpful.

If you believe you have a Social Security Disability claim, don’t go it alone. Lawrence & Associates has helped many Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents just like you get disability benefits. We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we want to help you! Call today for a free, confidential consultation.