When your disability finally prevents you from working, and you decide to file for Social Security Disability benefits, the process can feel daunting from the outset. It may feel like there are a thousand hoops to jump through just to present medical evidence that the government will accept, and to get the benefits you need in order to survive. Even though it is important to present all the available medical evidence in your claim, it can be crucial to the success of applications for SSD benefits to get advice from an attorney who understands the role of non-medical evidence.
How Non-Medical Evidence Plays Into Your Claim
The goal of a Social Security disability claim is to show the government that you require benefits because you are unable to work. Naturally, the most important factor in that claim will be medical evidence. Your doctors and other healthcare providers will be able to show that medically speaking, you cannot perform a job. Sometimes, however, the medical evidence alone – no matter how compelling it may be – does not paint the whole picture of how the disability interferes with your ability to function at work. There may be other convincing, non-medical pieces of evidence that clearly show that you made an attempt to work, despite your medical challenges, and yet were unable to.
For example, you may have a work record that reveals the effects of your disability. Perhaps you had a strong, consistent work history up until the onset of your medical issues, at which point your work history became spotty. Perhaps you were forced to switch jobs a few times because you found you could not perform the duties of your old job, or maybe your attendance became inconsistent due to medical treatments or chronic pain. Family members who have seen the effects of your disability firsthand can attest to the impact on your life. Your former coworkers or bosses may also be able to confirm that you made an effort to continue to work, but simply could not. This type of evidence does not portray you in a negative light. Rather, it shows that your disability is truly preventing you from doing the work that you would otherwise gladly perform. It adds to your credibility, and makes the Social Security Administration far more likely to grant you the benefits you need.
How to Utilize Non-Medical Evidence
If you are filing for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to take action early, as it can take 18 months or longer to get benefits. It is advised that you consult with an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the filing process and compile the supporting evidence. It takes expertise, diligence, and skill to put together a successful application for SSD benefits.
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have the legal experience to know where to look for crucial non-medical evidence in your Social Security disability benefits case. If you have been turned down once before for benefits, it may have been because not all of the relevant evidence was presented convincingly. Contact us for a free phone consultation to learn more about your options, whether for the initial filing or to appeal a denial of benefits.