What you can do to help with your claim for Tampa disability benefits
There are a number of things you can do to help your Tampa disability attorney put together your best possible case for Social Security disability benefits:
- See your doctor regularly.
- Get contact information for all health professionals you see.
- Follow all prescribed medical treatment.
- Write down the dates of all medical treatment you receive.
- Keep a list of all medications you take.
- Complete and return all questionnaires sent to you by Social Security.
- Attend all medical or psychological exams arranged for you by Social Security.
- Keep a daily diary of your symptoms.
- Think about who might be good witnesses at your hearing.
- Get supporting letters from family and friends.
- Always be truthful and neither exaggerate nor minimize your problems working.
- Keep your attorney informed.
See a doctor to have your medical condition evaluated and documented.
Complete, thorough, and recent medical records are very important to the success of your claim for Tampa social security disability benefits. Specifically, medical records are necessary to:
- Prove you have a “medically determinable impairment.” You must have a medically determinable impairment to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. A medically determinable impairment is a physical or mental abnormality that is documented with medically accepted diagnostic techniques.
- Prove your impairment meets or equals a listing at step 3 of the sequential evaluation process.
- Corroborate the symptoms and functional limitations that you allege prevent you from being able to work.
Get contact information for all treating health care professionals
Your Tampa disability attorney may need to contact your treating health care professionals to obtain your records or written reports about your condition. The easiest way for you to gather contact information is to collect the business cards of every health care professional you see and forward them to your disability attorney.
Follow all prescribed medical treatment
Failure to follow treatment can hurt your case for Tampa disability benefits or even lead to its denial. Poor compliance with medical advice may cause the judge at your disability hearing to doubt your truthfulness. The administrative law judge may conclude that you must not be as disabled as you claim to be, otherwise you would do a better job of following the prescribed treatment.
Even if you are disabled, your Tampa application for Social Security disability benefits can be denied if you refuse to follow prescribed treatment and the treatment is expected to restore your ability to work. You can, or course, refuse treatment with good reason such as, among others, the treatment is very risky, you cannot afford it, another doctor has advised against it, or you have religious objections.
Keep track of dates of all medical treatment
Write down the dates of all medical treatment in a journal or on a calendar so your Tampa disability attorney can verify that Social Security has all your medical records. Before your hearing, your attorney will ask you for this information. However, you do not need to call your Tampa disability attorney to report routine medical care.
Keep a list of all your medications
The side effects caused by your medication as well as the time it takes to undergo treatment are factors Social Security considers in determining whether you can work. So write down all your medications, or better yet, keep all pill bottles or other packaging that shows the name and dosage of your medications.
Complete and return all questionnaires
The disability examiner assigned to your case may send you questionnaires seeking additional information about your medical condition, work history, and physical and mental limitations. Make sure you complete these and return them. Your Tampa disability attorney can provide you with guidance about how to complete the questionnaires properly.
Attend all scheduled examinations
Your disability examiner may arrange for you to be examined by a doctor or to undergo further medical tests if more medical evidence is needed to make a disability determination in your case. If you fail to attend an examination without a good reason, a decision will be made on your application without this important evidence.
Keep a symptom diary
Keeping a daily diary of your pain and other symptoms is excellent preparation for your hearing testimony. Using a diary will help you recall the details and frequency of your symptoms. A dairy can also help your doctor because it will show the doctor a complete and detailed history of your symptoms. A diary can be especially helpful if you have episodes, such as seizures, or headaches, or if you have good and bad days. Your Tampa disability attorney can advise you of the best way to record your symptoms in a diary.
Think about people you know who might be good witnesses at your hearing
Good witness are people who are familiar with all the problems you have been suffering lately, and who can describe them for the judge. Most people use family members or a close friend. But sometimes a judge will think that close friends and family members will try too hard to help a claimant. Therefore, better witnesses often are unrelated people who are not close and who might be considered more objective. Former supervisors, co-workers, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, ministers, landlords, and neighbors are possible choices.
Get letters from friends and relatives about your disability
Letters from friends, relatives and other people can be very useful in a disability case. Your Tampa disability attorney can provide you with direction for your friends and relatives about what to include in these letters.
Be honest; don’t exaggerate; don’t minimize
Be honest with your doctor and with the Social Security Administration when you describe your symptoms and limitations. Social Security will compare statements you made in connection with your claim for disability benefits with statements you made under other circumstances, expecially statements you made when seeking treatment. Social Security will also look at statements you made to the Social Security Administration at each prior step of the process. Inconsistent, contradictory statements can seriously damage your case.
Keep your Tampa disability attorney informed
Your Tampa disability attorney will tell you when you should contact him or her, but most attorneys will want you to notify them when:
- Your address and/or phone number changes.
- You return to work.
- You are considering returning to work, even if only on a part-time basis.
- Your condition improves significantly or gets significantly worse.
- You require hospitalization.
- You are diagnosed with a new medical condition.
- You receive a letter from the Social Security Administration that you do not understand.
- You receive a Notice of Hearing and you have not received a letter from your attorney telling you your hearing date.
- You get a form from the judge for your doctor to complete.
Get help with your Brandon or Tampa Florida Social Security claim
If you would like help with your Social Security claim and are not already represented by a Tampa disability attorney, complete the form to the right and I will respond promptly. Or contact one of my offices. I hope to have the opportunity to help you.
Garry W. Miracle
Tampa Bay Florida Social Security Disability Attorney
Brandon Florida office
1353 Oakfield Drive
Brandon, Florida 33511
Tampa Florida office
3111 West Dr M L King Blvd, Suite 100
Tampa, Florida 33607