There are many people with really bad conditions in which any amount of medical treatment will not help. If you have a serious back condition that will require surgery and you can't afford it, then going to the doctor is not going to do you much good. For people with MS, there are few options as well.
These are just a few examples. The point being, often medical treatment is not going to make a person capable of returning back with work.
But, in order to have a strong Social Security disability case, you're going to need to continue going to the doctor. If you can't afford private medical care, then you're going to need to take advantage of county hospital care or county MHMR. I get it, no one wants to sit and wait for six to eight hours for treatment, but you're going to have to acquire some amount of medical care in order to win your Social Security disability case.
When the Social Security Administration looks at your case, it is determining a number of things. First, where in your medical records can it be shown when you became unable to work? This is called your onset date. It's actually very important. For reasons beyond this blog, it could determine a number of issues in your case. Suffice it to say at this point, you need to have medical records showing when you became too impaired to work.
Second, you have to have medical records that CONTINUE to show you have been too impaired to work. The Administration will not guess as to whether or not you could or could not keep a job. It makes decisions on whether to award disability benefits based upon medical evidence. If your medical records are not strong enough to support your claim, you will be denied based upon either your claim not being credible or the fact that you do not have enough evidence in your file to support a disabled decision. Thus, you may actually be disabled and the Administration may feel that you are, but you'll still be denied because there is not enough evidence to support an approval.
So, what are the nuts and bolts of acquiring medical evidence when filing for Social Security disability benefits? In a nutshell, you need to be having some type of medical treatment at least once every three to four months. Now, the best case scenario would be you seeing a specialist in your field, but if you don't have insurance, it's unlikely this will happen. But, you can do some things to help your case even if you have no insurance and no money:
1. Inform your doctor you are needing to file for Social Security disability benefits. Ask him or her to at the very least note the impairments you have in your medical records. This helps show the Administration how you are not able to work. For example, have your doctor list your Range of Motion (ROM), how far you can walk, how long you can stand, if your gait is impaired, etc. Again, this helps show what limitations you are living with and how they effect your ability to work.
2. Ask your doctor to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment form. This can be either mental or physical. Even if your doctor refuses to fill one of these out (and they sometimes do), ask your doctor if perhaps his or her nurse can and then the doctor can sign it agreeing to the results. This again helps the Administration understand your physical or mental limitations.
3. If you can't afford a doctor, then you're likely going to have to go through the emergency room at your county hospital. I get it, it sucks. But, you are going to have to get some type of medical treatment from somewhere in order to win your case. If you really do need disability benefits, then you should be willing to do what it takes to make this happen. Again, at least be going once every three to four months.
4. If you can only receive county medical treatment, that doesn't mean you won't have enough medical evidence to win your case. Further, you can also usually apply for one of their either free or low-cost programs to continue to receive regular medical care. In fact, you can also even apply to be seen by a specialist for your condition, but it is likely to be at least a few months waiting period before you can do so. The point is, the sooner you apply, the sooner you can receive regular and consistent medical treatment, and the better your case will be when applying for Social Security disability benefits.
5. If you do happen to win your case, then you still have to be seeking medical treatment. Even if, again, no amount of medical treatment will help. Your disability period is likely not to last the rest of your life. The average time a person is allowed to receive disability benefits is three years. After that, you will come up for review. If you have not been seeking treatment, then you will find yourself likely being cut-off. Again, the Administration cannot make a guess as to whether or not you are disabled. There must be medical records to back up your allegations that you now continue to be disabled and are still unable to work.
We represent claimants seeking their disability benefits throughout Texas and California. If you need to chat, you can always call us at: (888) 780-9125.