This guide will give the four factors that I see as the most important factors to win your Social Security Disability Case. Those factors are consistent medical treatment, medical opinions, work history, and age.
Consistent Medical Treatment
The single most important factor in winning your disability case is consistent medical treatment. You simply cannot win a case without medical documentation of your disability. Obviously, it can be difficult to pay for medical treatment when you're not able to work and don't have insurance. However, you have to find a way to get to a doctor as often as possible to provide what SSA calls "longitudinal evidence" of your disability. Longitudinal evidence simply means evidence over time. A one time visit to a doctor provides some evidence but it doesn't carry as much weight as treatment notes over a period of time. Likewise, in the next section I'll talk about opinions from your doctor, but those opinions won't carry any weight unless they're from a doctor who has treated your for a long period of time.
Opinions from your Doctor
In addition to medical treatment, it is extremely helpful to have opinions from you doctors. Your doctor's notes are helpful but doctors usually do not address your ability to work in their treatment notes. Therefore, it is helpful to get a letter about how your condition affects your ability to work or have your doctor fill out a form from your attorney that addresses key issues in these cases. A favorable opinion from your treating doctor can make the difference between winning and losing.
Strong Work History
The judge and a vocational expert will look at your work history for the purpose of seeing if you're able to return to your past work and will also consider whether you have the skills to do other jobs. However, beyond those legal issues, your work history goes to your credibility. In my experience, a judge is much more likely to approve a case when you have a strong work history. From a credibility standpoint, this makes sense. It's unlikely that someone would give up a good job to go out on disability unless he/she just can't work.
Age is an extremely important factor in these cases. The older you are, the easier it is to win your case. If you're under 50, you have to eliminate all jobs. This means you have to eliminate sit down jobs that you've never done before. Once you get over the age of 50, you no longer have to eliminate sit down jobs if you have no experience in those jobs or transferrable skills to those jobs. Once you get over the age of 55, you can get disability if you're limited to light work. Therefore, if you're young, you must have overwhelming evidence that you're disabled. That doesn't mean you should give up on your case. It just means you have work to do to prove your case.
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