Filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be a challenge if your medical condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSA’s list of medical conditions that automatically qualify a person for disability benefits.
If your condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, there are still ways in which your disability benefits claim could be approved. This list of tips may help you to file a successful claim.
Tip #1: See your doctor often
Having an extensive medical history pertaining to your condition will help show the SSA that your medical condition is serious. Your doctor can take thorough notes and keep a record of your treatment history; any results from medical tests, blood work, or biopsies; a record of related surgeries or procedures; and more. Note that it will also look better to the SSA if you see a doctor that specializes in your medical condition.
Tip #2: Fill out an RFC
A Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment will help the SSA determine what kinds of work you can be expected to reasonably perform with your medical condition. The assessment will show if you have trouble with certain types of physical labor, such as standing, sitting, or lifting. It will also show if you have any intellectual or emotional disabilities that may prevent you from working certain types of jobs. The SSA may want to have one of their experts perform your RFC, or you can possibly have it completed by your own doctor.
Tip #3: Keep a record showing the activities you cannot do
Although your RFC assessment will be the best way to determine the types of work you can and cannot be expected to do, it will help your claim if you take thorough notes about the types of activities you have trouble performing. For instance, your condition may make it so that you are extremely fatigued and must sleep more than average. Keeping a history of your sleep schedule will show the SSA that you may not be able to work a full time, or even half time, job. A great way to record this would be to keep a diary.
Tip #4: Leave no blank questions on the application
Submitting a thorough and complete disability benefits application can help to ensure that you have the best possible change of filing a successful claim. Certain factors that you didn’t expect may weigh in the SSA’s decision, such as your age, level of education, marital status, literacy level, and ability to speak English.
Tip #5: Have friends and family submit testimony
Aside from the records and testimony of your doctor, having your friends and family submit notes about how your condition has affected your quality of life and ability to work will help show the SSA the full extent of your disability and make a more complete application.
Tip #6: Contact a disability attorney
Lastly, a disability attorney or advocate can help you throughout the disability benefits claim process. They can ensure that all of your medical evidence and paperwork has been filed correctly, represent you in court, and overall help ensure a smooth process and successful benefits claim.