Medical Source Statements Social Security Disability

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The social security disability process requires you to prove that you are disabled.  You may have to do this multiple times.  For instance, you may to prove this when you submit your application, and again if you have to appeal a denial and appear in front of a judge.  Usually, the best evidence is medical evidence – and the best medical evidence is something we call a Medical Source Statement or a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment.

You will need to present this form to your doctor and ask her to fill it out.  I’ve provided a link to an example of a Medical Source Statement below.  Basically, this form allows your doctor to explain your diagnosis, the testing you have undergone, and how your mental or physical condition affects your functional ability.  Your primary care doctor or a specialist who has treated you will be the best doctors to ask to fill this form out.

When you ask your doctor to fill out this form, ask her to be as specific as possible – not just about the fact that you have pain, but in the details about what you can and cannot do.  You will want the doctor to explain that your pain affects things like how long you can sit or stand during a work day and how much you can lift at any one time.

It’s common for people to think that if they give the Social Security Administration all of their medical records, then a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment is not necessary.  If you only rely on your medical records, then there is no explanation of what those records mean.  You might have an x-ray or an MRI that shows what is wrong with you, but those tests don’t explain how your condition limits your ability to work.  But a Medical Source Statement does.

You want to make it as easy as possible for the judge to rule in your favor.  A Medical Source Statement gives the judge an easy to use piece of evidence to do that.  Even if you have to pay the doctor to fill it out, it will be worth it when you win.

An example of this type of form can be found at Source Link

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Social Security Disability: Medical Records

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The number one most important reason why people win or lose their social security disability claim is their medical records.  People who can’t work because of a physical or mental condition are supposed to qualify for disability benefits.  If your medical records don’t make it to the social security administration before a decision is issued, then there won’t be any evidence to prove your disability.

The Social Security Administration is supposed to gather up all of your medical records from your doctors, but they don’t always get that done.  It’s pretty common for something to be missing.  So, it’s pretty important for you to keep a good list of all of the doctors that you have seen, get the medical records yourself, and take a copy to the Social Security Administration office.

Social Security laws require your doctor to give you the first copy of your records for free if you are filing a disability claim.  You don’t have to worry about being able to afford them.

Your medical records will be the most important evidence in your case.  So, make it easy for the SSA to rule in your favor by giving them all of your records.  We do this for our clients.  We’ve seen too many cases where the SSA has failed to get everything and it really hurts the case.  This is one of the most important things we do for our clients because it gives them the best chance to win.

Social Security Disability: How Does Your Age Affect Your Eligibility

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You’d be surprised at how many people think you can only get social security disability benefits if you are over 65 years old.  These people are confusing disability benefits with retirement benefits.  Disability benefits are available for anybody who qualifies, and who is not old enough to retire.  But age does affect how easy it may be for you to qualify for benefits.

Social Security laws place people into age categories.  Everybody aged 18 to 44 are considered young individuals, those 45-49 are younger individuals, 50-54 are called closely approaching advanced age, those 55-59 are considered advanced age, and 60-65 are closely approaching retirement age.

The older you are, the easier it will be for you to qualify for disability benefits.  Your education and work skills will be part of that equation, but your age is the starting point in figuring out what you will have to prove in order to win.  For example, if you are 48 years old with little formal education, and you can only do a job where you can sit all day, you will probably be denied disability if you are able to read and write.  But if you are 52 in the same circumstances, you would probably win.  When the age category changes, the eligibility criteria change as well.  At age 48, you have to prove that you can’t do any work at all, but at Age 52, you only have to prove that you are limited to work that can be done sitting down.

The reason why age matters so much is that we don’t expect older people who are close to retirement to go through job retraining and start a new career.  The younger you are, the more we might expect you to adapt and change so that you can participate in the workforce.

One of the reasons to consider hiring a lawyer for a social security disability claim is to take advantage of their knowledge about how age, education and job skills can be manipulated  to your advantage to give you the best chance to win your case.