Magnolia was a Disability Examiner at Social Security. Then she became disabled herself. She’s kind enough to share her tips and insights from the inside. Read more about Magnolia
Magnolia, do support letters and third party forms make a difference?
It depends. If the letter is from someone who is hired to help you do the things you can’t do, that is going to be more significant than a letter from a family member. For example, a Nanny or personal aide who writes, I’m in her home for x hours a week and this is what I have observed…
I’ve also seen parents who are in a caregiver role for their adult children be given heavy weight in the decision, in some cases.
For mental illness, Disability Examiners are far more likely to give consideration to what is written by a support person or a third party, then when is written by the person applying. This is because people with certain mental illnesses may be a poor judge of their own level of impairment.
For physical illness, these support forms and letters are most often used to look for inconsistencies (check to see if what the support person wrote is similar to what the person applying and their doctor has said or written). If everything does not match up, this can cause a problem.
If someone leaves work while pregnant or has had a recent child, support letters can be very helpful if they can show that someone else is doing the majority of childcare and household care. Unfortunately (and this is super sexist) a lot of disability examiners think that women who have to stop working after the birth of a child are just applying for disability simply to fund being a stay-at-home mom.
If this is your situation, on your own function forms, you need to be really careful to describe your childcare duties accurately (which is perhaps the most painful thing to do when this disease prevents us from parenting the way we’d like). Support letters that show proof that you are not the primary caregiver can be invaluable.
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🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability
🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19
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