Evidence in Disability Claims
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Our team at KD Law will ensure that all relevant evidence is obtained and developed with the goal of building the strongest possible claim from the moment we take on your case. Though we accept clients at all stages of the disability process, the best way to guarantee the strongest claim possible is to contact us right away.
Whether you are considering a possible future claim, you have recently filed an application, or you have already received a denial from SSA, we can provide a free claim evaluation and answer any questions you may have.
While most people are aware that your own medical records and treating chart notes are most important in disability claims, many are not familiar with the other types of evidence that will be considered in determining whether a claimant meets SSA’s definition of disability. This section provides a brief overview of the evidence that will be considered in evaluating your claim for disability benefits:
In order to succeed in a claim for disability benefits, a claimant must be undergoing consistent, continuous treatment for their physical and/or mental impairments. Not only must you be treating consistently, but the quality of treatment and accuracy of your medical chart notes is vital to proving disability. Large gaps in treatment or documentation of failure to attend appointments and comply with medical recommendations can be grounds for denial.
The most important evidence in your disability claim is what your doctors and treating providers write in your medical chart notes.
The attorneys at KD Law will meet with you early in our representation of your claim to advise you on what you can do as a patient to ensure quality treatment and chart notes. Once appointed, our team will obtain all relevant medical records necessary to fully prepare your claim prior to your hearing.
Work History Reports and Earnings Records
In every adult disability claim, SSA will generate earnings records that have been kept by the agency and will reflect your job history, earnings, and dates of employment. These records are used to identify any past or current work activity relevant to your claim. In addition, you may receive work history forms to complete in order that the agency can gather additional information about past job duties and how your work was actually performed.
These forms can often be misleading and will result in an inaccurate understanding of your past work. Even if the information you provide on these forms is incomplete or not completely accurate, it can be used to deny your claim even at the hearing level.
At KD Law, we not only ensure all forms are timely completed and submitted to the agency, we review and assist in completing agency paperwork to make certain that all relevant details are included prior to submission.
The agency will send various forms at each step of the disability process. Many are fairly straightforward and are sent in order to obtain any updates you may have regarding treatment, work activity, and medication. Others are more lengthy request detailed information about your impairments, limitations, and activities of daily living. Similar forms may be sent to someone you know for them to fill out based on their own knowledge about and observations of your disabilities.
As with certain work history forms, these questionnaires can be misleading and they largely fail to request relevant details. Many claimants are not aware that absent further explanation, their answers may be taken out of context and used to deny their claim.
Our attorneys will review these forms and work with you directly to provide any additional information that may be needed to avoid misinterpretation of your answers prior to submitting them on your behalf.
At each step of the disability process, SSA will use their own state agency physicians to review the medical records they have obtained in your claim. Likewise, you may be sent to an independent consultative examining physician for a brief, one-time physical or psychological evaluation. These medical sources will provide opinions based on your records and/or a one-time evaluation.
The agency must evaluate all medical opinions in evidence, and their persuasiveness.
As such, it is very helpful to obtain a medical opinion from one or more of your own treating physicians or mental health practitioners who are far more familiar with your medical history and experienced in your treatment.
KD Law will not only prepare you for any agency scheduled consultative examinations, but will draft and provide you with impairment specific medical source statements to present to your own treating practitioners for completion.
The answers provided to SSA over the phone or in forms they may send to you or someone you know may be considered opinion evidence. Likewise, opinion letters provided by physicians, previous employers, family, or friends will be considered as part of the evidence as a whole.
Your attorney at KD Law will consider the evidence obtained and determine whether obtaining additional opinion evidence may be helpful or necessary. You will be fully advised on and included in every strategic decision. Our team always goes the extra mile to fully develop the evidence and build the strongest possible case.
When relevant, SSA may also obtain and review Criminal Records, Substance Use Treatment & Rehabilitation Records, Military Records, BWC Claim Records, Academic Records.
While other records are only relevant on a case-by-case basis, an experience disability practitioner will be able to identify and obtain other records that will help to support a finding of disability in your claim. The team at KD Law schedules an initial appointment with each new client as soon as possible so that all potentially significant evidence can be identified and considered at the outset.
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Going the Extra Mile to Build the Strongest Possible Case
Our team will fully develop the necessary evidence in your claim with the goal of demonstrating you meet the definition of disability at each relevant step of the evaluation process.