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Documenting Your Claim

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When applying for Social Security, you will be required to present documentation to support your claim.  You will make a personal verbal or written testimony about your disability, but you will also be required to present medical evidence and written statements from your friends and family to help Social Security make their decision.

Medical Records

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The most important documents in the Social Security application process are your medical records.  To qualify for benefits, your medical condition must be documented by clinical or laboratory reports.  Your medical records must convince Social Security that your condition is severe enough to cause the limitation that you are claiming.  Social Security likes to see objective findings in your medical records such as MRIs or x-ray results.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you obtain regular medical treatment and let your doctors know that you are attempting to get disability benefits.

Statements

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Other sources of information used to determine your eligibility include statements by yourself, family and friends.  Generally these statements are collected through questionnaires called “function reports.”  Social Security often sends function reports to both claimants and third parties such as friends and family members for completion.  Function reports ask questions about your normal daily activities.  Social Security wants to learn about which activities you can still perform and those that you cannot perform because of your impairment.  Function reports are extremely important to the outcome of your case.  If Social Security asks you for the name of a person who can provide a statement about your disability, be sure to provide them with the name of someone who either lives with you or sees you every day.  If Social Security sends a report for you to fill out yourself, be sure to fill it out completely, including details about your condition.  Do not exaggerate your limitations, but at the same time do not hesitate to be specific and comprehensive about them.  If you do not complete the forms at Social Security’s request, you can expect to receive a denial letter for not cooperating with their evaluation.

Verbal Testimony

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Finally, one important source of information used to determine your eligibility for benefits is your own verbal testimony.  If you are required to attend a hearing, a judge will ask you to testify about your medical disability. This is your opportunity to let Social Security know the impact that your condition has on your life.  Your testimony will not only provide the judge with details on things you can do and cannot do, it also provides the judge with an opportunity to evaluate your credibility.

Understanding Social Security Disability can be difficult.  If you’re frustrated with the lengthy, confusing process of Social Security disability, then call us today at (317) 472-3333. Whether you’re looking to hire a lawyer now or just need a little information to get you started, we’re happy to help.