There are a lot of situations that can lead to frustration in any Social Security application. There can be delays in receiving your decision, unfriendly doctors performing your consultative examinations, or evidence never sent in by reporting medical sources. Many times, these situations can be explained by realizing one very important fact about the Social Security disability process: you are not the only one applying for benefits.
It may seem like common sense, but many times it is difficult to remember that the Social Security Administration is dealing with thousands of people applying for disability or appealing a Social Security denial. As such, there are going to be necessary delays while everyone’s case is moving through the system. There is, however, one crucial thing you can remember to make your case stand out from everyone else’s: specificity. Being specific is key, whether you are discussing your medical conditions with your doctors, talking about work history with Social Security staff, or explaining your limitations to decision makers. In this series of articles, I will point out how being specific at several steps of the process can improve your case for benefits.
The Importance of Specificity in Medical Records
When speaking with your doctors, there is one very obvious reason that you want to be specific. Knowing exactly what your symptoms are, their severity, and where they are located is key to differentiating different medical problems and ensuring that the proper medical care is given.
It is also, however, the thing that differentiates a vague piece of medical evidence to a useful one when helping decide a Social Security disability case. Consider this: many of the rules used to determine whether or not someone is disabled are based on both the symptoms of a disorder and their effects on someone’s ability to work. Additionally, some of the listed medical conditions for which one can be found disabled require certain objective facts to be established about a condition.
It should be your goal, then, to tell your doctor exactly what is wrong with you, down to as much detail as possible. For example, if you have headaches, that is one thing, but keep in mind what I said above: lots of people are applying for disability for problems related to headaches. Many people experience headache symptoms that are completely different from yours. Your doctor needs to know how often you experience these headaches, how long they last, where in your head they are located, whether or not the pain radiates to or from your upper neck, and if there are any triggers that cause them. These are the sorts of details that Social Security disability examiners and judges look for to determine whether or not a person is qualified for benefits.
As your Social Security law firm, we specialize in crafting arguments based on the medical evidence in your file. When appealing a Social Security disability denial, you can help us in this process by making sure the record reflects your impairments and their impact on your ability to work. Remember; be specific, whether you’re talking to our disability lawyers, Social Security staff, or your medical care professionals.
Specificity Is Key – Speaking with Doctors