The number one killer of disability applications is the stuff in your head.
One of the biggest obstacles I see people face, especially early on, is holding onto ideas that may hurt their applications.
I totally get it and I’ve totally been there. Change is hard. Becoming a different person and living a different life is hard. You may find you need to practice a lot of patience, openness and willingness. Please take a look through this list and see if there are any beliefs or ideas you are willing to let go.
“I’m not disabled!”
If you are really not disabled, that is great! But you won’t be able to get on disability.
“I don’t know if I’m disabled.”
Now is the perfect time to figure it out and make peace with it. The way you talk with your doctor and the things you write on your application are going to be very important.
“You can’t get approved if you have Fibro, Lyme or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”
“You can’t get approved in less than two years”
Better sentence: I’m going to take some extra steps to help my application, and then I may have a chance to get approved quicker!
“You can’t get approved if you are young”
Massively wrong. There is a special rule that sometimes helps some people who are age 50 or higher. That’s the only difference.
“There is nothing my friends or family can do to help.”
Actually, your friends or family may be able to be a great help. When I meet people who were approved in six months or less, most of them tell me they were helped by family and friends, not lawyers. If you know someone who might be willing to assist you, now is a wonderful time to reach out for support.
“I read all my medical records online.”
This is a common misconception that sometimes leads to heartache. You want to read your complete medical records.
“I read all my medical records after each visit. The person at the front desk hands them to me”
Nope. You want your complete medical records
“Social Security is totally unfair and random. There is nothing I can do but hope for the best.”
Yes, Social Security in unfair. No, it is not random.
The way it should be: The sicker you are, the more likely you are to get approved.
The way it is: The stronger your application is, the more likely you are to get approved.
“My disability application is not my top priority in life”
I’ve met a lot of people who feel this way, especially at the beginning. Unfortunately, things did not turn out so well for some of these people. I’ve seen a lot of divorce, evictions, foreclosures, homelessness, lack of food, loss of medical care, and other hard circumstances.
If you are on the edge and genuinely too sick to work, please consider: there may be nothing in this world more important that your disability application right now.
“I won’t get approved unless I see a doctor who specializes in Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc”
These kind of doctors can be great, but it is not possible for everyone because of finances, insurance or geography. Don’t worry. Any doctor can help you get approved. The most important qualities your doctor can have are: Believes you are disabled, supports your application, able to keep good records, and willing to help you document your condition.
“I will get approved if I can see a specialist”
Maybe. Some specialists are great at documenting cases for Social Security and some are not.
“I wrote down all my symptoms and all my limitations, so my condition is well documented.”
What you write matters a little. What your doctor writes matters a lot. If you want your condition to be well-documented, talk about these things with your doctor and read your medical records to see if what your doctor has written is accurate.
“I don’t need to do anything. My lawyer is handling everything”
File this one under: Words you may live to regret
“I’m too embarrassed to answer that question”
It’s not easy to say embarrassing things. It’s hard to admit if you need help taking a bath or eating or cleaning the house or using the toilet.
You know what is even harder than embarrassment? Poverty and homelessness.
If you are truly too sick to work, and need disability to survive, the very best thing you can do is start getting really comfortable being a lot more open about your symptoms and limitations. After the first few times, it does get easier.
“Someone at Social Security told me something so it must be true.”
The Social Security Gods laugh when people say this.
“My doctor doesn’t support my application. But I’m staying with this doctor.”
This is usually a dealbreaker. Read Leaf’s story.
“I sent something to Social Security so now it is in my Social Security file.”
Variation: “I handed something to my lawyer, so now it is in my Social Security file.”
They deal with a lot of paper over there. Sometimes some of those papers make their way to your file. I’m not quite sure what happens to the rest of the time, but you can check and find out.
“I don’t need to read my medical records. My lawyer will read them and tell me if there are any problems.”
If only this were true.
“I am the very best person to improve my application. If I am genuinely disabled, it is possible to get approved.”
This one is correct