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Huddle Up! Five Things to know about Social Security disability before you get started.

I'll give you 5 things tonight to know about Social Security disability that you may actually not know:

  1. If you are under the age of 50, even though SSA says that it looks at your past work, it really doesn't matter. -The reality is, is that if you are under the age of 50, SSA (through DDS) and your eventual hearing before a judge, will look at your impairments (both mental and physical) and determine if there are other jobs you can still perform despite those impairments. Don't let anyone fool you...SSA will look very hard to find other jobs you can still perform even with your disabilities. That is why it is so hard for someone under the age of 50 to get approved. But, don't lose heart, it is still possible.

  2. Number 2! If you are over the age of 55, SSA really looks hard for a way to approve you for benefits. AS LONG AS YOU ACTUALLY HAVE MEDICAL RECORDS TO BACK UP THESE SEVERE IMPAIRMENTS. You still gotta have really good medical evidence to back up your allegations. Attorneys will always take cases for people 55 and older. It's because even if they have to file again for benefits, the chances are really good you will be approved (but remember, not always).

  3. Don't say you're blind unless you really are blind. It throws the case off. SSA (through DDS) looks to see if you are legally blind and they almost seem to forget you may have other impairments. It's an easy out to deny the case if you are not legally blind. If you have low vision, then just say you have low vision. Don't go for it, it'll only cause a delay in your case.

  4. Most mental impairments are not winning cases. Yes, they do get approved, but their chances of success are so much lower than physical impairments where there are actual tests to prove a disability. Much of a mental impairment case relies on a person telling someone how they feel. This is self-reporting rather than an actual physical tests to show something is wrong. I'm not saying don't file, just know that it is going to be harder. It's always better to have an accompanying physical impairment to help the case. If you have that too, don't leave it out of your application.

  5. Go to the gosh darn doctor. If you can't afford one, then go to county and get free treatment. If that doesn't work, then go trough the emergency room. You cannot win a case (almost in every circumstance) without good medical records. That being said, I am still amazed after all these years of the cases that go to court with really crappy medical records and watch as the judge looks for a way to approve the case. But, that is not the norm

Here's your bonus for the evening....

Be an advocate for yourself, even if you have an attorney. Disability attorneys are paid only for the cases they win. If you have a good case with good medical records, you're going to get more out of your attorney because he or she has something to work with. They are not magicians, there is no "putting the system of trial" theatrics in a hearing. Disability attorneys go before the same judges day after day, and they learn to work within the system for the best of their clients. If you have a really crappy case, then no one is going to lay their neck on the line and have to face the same judge two days later.

Remember this, everyone in a hearing room does this day in and day out, including your attorney. You are the only one that is nervous and has everything on the line. If that's the case, then don't you want to have the best case possible? Okay then, go to the doctor, tell your doctor that you need to file for disability and need your records to be complete as possible.

Be the best advocate for yourself. Because in the end, you're going to have to live with the decision. Everyone else, including your attorney, after the hearing (and the judge and the court reporter, etc.) have moved onto the next case. Remember, the good Lord helps those who help themselves. A really solid disability case is no different.

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