Social Security Disability LawyerWhat Do I Have to Prove to Show I Need SSDI?

If you’re in the process of applying for disability, you may be wondering, “How do I show the SSA that I am disabled?”

It’s a complicated but critical question for anyone who needs SSDI. And fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to prove your case and have a successful claim.

Here’s what you need to include and why, along with what to do if the decision doesn’t go your way.

Qualifying for SSDI

Before you even start your application, bear in mind that there’s a difference between having a disability and qualifying for SSDI specifically.

SSDI works like an insurance program. Each pay period, you pay into it through your taxes. Then, later on, if you develop a disability that affects your ability to earn an income, you can request funds from the program.

As a result, you’ll have to prove more than the disability in order to have a successful claim. It will also depend on how many credits you’ve earned through paying your taxes, your work history, and more. We’ve written extensively on the most common reasons the SSA denies SSDI applications.

But even if you qualify in every other way, your application still depends on proving your disability.

Things to Keep in Mind to Show the SSA that You’re Disabled

There are a few different things to keep in mind when proving your disability to the SSA.

First, the SSA recognizes certain disabilities as eligible for an expedited process, known as “compassionate allowance.” This list includes many life-threatening cancers, brain disorders, and other serious conditions. Assuming you can prove you have the disorder, these types of disabilities typically get a faster response and higher acceptance rate.

Second, regardless of the type of disability, remember that you always want to tie in how it affects your income. For the purposes of SSDI, your disability is only relevant if and when it keeps you from working.

Lastly, there are plenty of examples of invisible disabilities. Chronic fatigue, long Covid, autoimmune disorders, and many others may not appear obvious to many people. Even in these cases, which on the surface may seem harder to prove because people sometimes doubt them in your day-to-day life, the SSA simply wants to see medical evidence to back up your claim.

How to Prove You Have a Disability

There’s a lot you can do to give the SSA the documentation they need.

Many people either don’t know to include all of this information or aren’t sure how to access their records correctly. If you have trouble putting together a full application, it can help to work with an attorney. But here are the basic steps:

Obtain all of your medical records.

Provide the SSA with comprehensive medical records. These should document your diagnosis, treatment history, and prognosis. Include any forms, test results, and communication from your healthcare providers. And this list can and should include everyone: specialists, hospitals, clinics, physical therapists, etc.

Functional Limitations

In the application, you will have the opportunity to speak on how your disability has impacted your life.

Detail the way it has changed your daily activities, including any normal functions around your home. But focus especially on work-related tasks and other skills that are essential for your employment.

Medications and Treatments

List all your prescribed medications, therapies, treatments, and medical interventions you have undergone or are currently receiving to manage your disability and its symptoms.

Statements from Healthcare Providers

Doctors and other healthcare providers can be a critical part of your application. The SSA looks to them for their expertise and to help them understand the severity of your case.

Obtain statements from treating physicians, specialists, or therapists. Anything they can offer to back up your diagnosis, medical condition, and prognosis will support your disability claim. In addition, if they can speak to the way your health has impaired your ability to work, ask them to include it.

Work History

In any SSDI application, you’ll be expected to document your work history. Some people fill out this section quickly or keep their answers very simple.

Instead, consider it an opportunity to back up your claim even further.

Include detailed job descriptions, work schedules, and performance evaluations. Describe specific ways in which your disability has kept you from working at your best. This is your chance to show how and why your disability impacts your ability to earn a living.

darrell-castleGet Help with Your Appeal

Surprisingly, even with all of the above, the SSA still denies the majority of claims.

If you’ve been denied, you have only 60 days to appeal. And at that point, you should bring in an attorney to help.

Our award-winning Memphis SSDI lawyers have helped hundreds of people get the disability they need.

We look at your initial application and find any potential problems or holes. We gather evidence to help back up your claim, fill in whatever gaps might be missing, and then represent you in front of the appeals judge.

What’s more, we don’t make anything unless and until we win your case. And even then, it’s only a fraction of your past-due benefits. You keep every dollar moving forward.

We offer a free consultation to help you get started. Just remember, you only have 60 days to appeal, so don’t wait: call us today at 901-327-2100 or contact us online.