Don't Rely on an Internet Post for Instructions on How to Win Your Social Security Disability Claim

April 29,2008
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A client brought to my attention a recent posting on About.com offering advice by a clinical psychologist on how to file for Social Security Disability benefits.
While it’s certainly great that this clinician is aware of Social Security Disability benefits and recognizes the importance of getting the word out about Social Security Disability benefits as an option, what I find infuriating is that she does not offer anything new. Rather than recommend that disabled people consider speaking to an attorney well versed in the Disability process, she offers generalizations gleaned from what appears to be a quick review of the Social Security website. She lays out the process as simple, fails to mention any of the well known pitfalls common to disability claims, and implies that ‘disabled’ people will be approved. What she completely fails to take into consideration and certainly does not mention to her readers is that a claimant for Social Security disability benefits cannot simply file the claim and then sit back and wait to be approved. It is crucial to contact treating sources and make sure not only that they provide the requested records and opinions, but that those records or opinions are presented in such a way as to lead the Social Security Administration to the logical conclusion that a claimant is disabled.
Attorneys experienced in handling Social Security Disability claims know what the doctors need to focus on when providing their opinions and know how best to present that information to the SSA decision maker. Furthermore, if a hearing is necessary, attorneys who have received advocacy training are much more likely to persuade Judges who might be on the fence over how to interpret certain evidence in the claims record.
Disability benefits can help pay for food, housing or medical care. Not to state the obvious, but If someone needs those benefits, winning is critical. Nobody should rely on an internet post to give them the instructions needed to win a claim – the nuances inherent in every individual’s case make it completely unrealistic to expect a positive result in most cases. If you are disabled, the best way to get help with a claim is to contact an attorney well versed in the Social Security law and process.
Gabriel Hermann, Esq.