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“Dos and Don’ts” for Increasing Your Chances of Getting Benefits

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a difficult process. Many applicants are denied after the initial application. That doesn’t have to be the case for you. Understanding how the system works is the best way to increase your chances of getting benefits. Working with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney will give you that inside knowledge and the confidence that your claim is being handled properly.

After helping more than 21,000 clients just like you secure the disability benefits they deserve, our team put together this list of things you can do to ensure your case is handled efficiently and effectively.

The “Dos”


  • Make sure you have all the paperwork required to submit your initial application.
  • Talk with your doctor and be sure they support your disability claim. Ask your doctor to prepare a detailed statement that describes your medical condition and the specific reasons why you can no longer work. If your doctor doesn’t agree that you’re disabled, you may need to get a second opinion. You will need support from your medical providers throughout this process.
  • Medical records are critical. Be sure to provide your attorney and the SSA with the names of all your medical providers and treatment dates. Submit copies of any medical records in your possession with your application or shortly after you file.
  • Fill out all SSA forms completely (no matter how personal the questions are), including all information about your employment and medical history.
  • Get treatment for all of your medical conditions. The SSA will look at all of your combined medical conditions. Be sure that you seek treatment for all of your conditions and tell each of your medical providers about all of your symptoms and limitations so that they can understand the severity of your illness and why you can’t work.
  • Visit your doctor as scheduled (don’t miss appointments) and follow all of their instructions in terms of treatments, medications, and physical or mental restrictions/limitations.
  • While you may not need this to get started, consider if any witnesses may be able to submit a letter on your behalf that confirms your disability. Your employer or even a caregiver you hired could be beneficial if your application is denied and you have to have a hearing.


  • Check on the status of your claim from time to time to make sure it’s not being held up for any reason. If you are working with an attorney, they will help with this as well, but you should also ask your SSA claims representative how and when you should follow up.
  • Stay in touch with your attorney and SSA regarding any new medical providers or hospitalizations. These records can be very important when proving a disability.
  • Always cooperate with SSA by responding to their requests promptly.
  • Always tell the truth to everyone involved with your claim.

The “Don’ts”

Every case is different, but in general, here are a few things you should not do when you are trying to win Social Security disability benefits.

  • Don’t wait too long. Waiting to file for benefits can often lead to a smaller award amount or even denial.
  • Don’t collect unemployment benefits. Collecting unemployment could affect your Social Security claim. To receive unemployment benefits, you have to state that you are ready and able to work; by applying for Social Security disability benefits, you are indicating that you are unable to work.
  • Don’t continue treating with a doctor that is unsupportive of your claim. If you disagree with your doctor regarding your ability to work, chances are that you also disagree with your treatment plan. You want a medical provider who understands how to treat your conditions and is willing to support your disability claim.
  • Don’t assume you can’t afford an attorney. Many attorneys, like ours, don’t collect a fee unless you win your case. Having an experienced attorney on your team can help you avoid some of the mistakes that others often make without legal guidance.
  • Don’t miss any deadlines. If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal. If you miss that, you could lose the opportunity to challenge the initial decision.
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"I was able to win my SSD case in 5 months due to cancer. We've been struggling to make ends meet due to the high medical costs when I was working, but we wouldn't be able to pay our bills if I didn't win this case. I am very grateful to the paralegal, Allison, who worked very hard with the attorney to get this settled quickly! "


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