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Building your case when filing for Social Security Disability

A severe medical condition has kept you out of work for significant chunks of time, and your doctor tells you that you no longer can perform your job. Your doctor lets you know it's time to file for Social Security Disability.

This is news no Tennessee resident wants to hear, but you agree the time has come.

So, just what do you do now?

Start by gathering all the paperwork the Social Security Administration will require to determine that you are, indeed, disabled. The evaluators will need to see your medical records back to the date you became disabled. In many cases, that date is tough to pinpoint, so ask your family and employers to tell you when they think your work began to be affected. Check with your human resources department at work and ask them to look at records of your absenteeism for another clue.

Your doctor will be key in the approval process. He or she will contribute an assessment of both your mental and physical conditions. You might meet with a specialist, as well, to get an opinion. You need to follow your doctor's directions, including taking all your medications properly and attending therapy sessions (if ordered). Let your doctor know exactly what you're feeling, as well as your physical limitations. This will help your doctor establish your diagnosis.

You should maintain a daily notebook of your condition and how it affects you. Throughout the day, mark down how your everyday activities are impacted. Can you no longer carry things that you once did? Do you have difficulty standing? Even the smallest things are important to record.

Make sure to be honest in your assessment and not overstate your limitations on your application for benefits. Claims administrators are experienced and will be able to see through any falsehoods.

An attorney experienced with Social Security Disability claims may be able to help you gather the information that will support your claim and put your best case before the agency. Since a denial can send you down the road toward an appeal -- which can take a while -- you want everything in your application to be right the first time.

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