SIMPLE STEPS TO USE WHEN FIGHTING YOUR SSD CASE
Source: L. Fullerton, SSDC
1) If your primary care doctor or any other doctor is unsupportive of you/your diseases - get rid of them/find a new one.
2) Make sure you see and get properly diagnosed by any specialists for your medical problems.
3) Get copies of ALL your medical records and tests - keep a set for yourself and send a set to SSD.
4) Anytime you fill out any paperwork for SSD make copies of it for yourself before sending it back to them.
5) Make a list of ALL medications/supplements you take make copies - one for yourself, give to each of your doctors and send one to SSD.
6) Go through the Doctor's Bluebook of Listings - find all the listings you meet and copy and paste them into a document - keep a copy for yourself - send one to SSD http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook
7) Get copy of Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaire - make copies for ALL your doctors to fill out and in your own words make up a letter answering all the questions - make sure to include how these diseases affect your life. You may wish to revise this sample to better reflect your own limitations, then ask your doctor to fill out your version instead of whatever DDS sends: http://pbcers.org/rfcq.htm.
A guide for providers on what to include in a report on your disability - read this and write your own to give to your doctor so he knows the answers:
8) Write all your elected officials and if you get any responses make copies - keep a set for yourself - send a set to SSD http://www.congress.org
9) Offer to help your doctors fill out any paperwork that they may get from you or SSD.
10) Ask your family, friends and doctors to write letters on your behalf stating how your illnesses affect your life and how they have changed you. Make copies keep a set for yourself and send one to SSD.
11) If SSD asks you to see any doctors make sure you keep the appointment and audio/video tape record the visit get copies of all that doctors findings.
12) If your case has been denied - file your appeal immediately and get copies of all the records in your SSD file including ALL claim examiners notes and any doctors reports from doctors that SSD had you see - it is your right to have them.
13) Use the SSD website - it has lots of useful info and never be afraid to contact them by phone to ask questions as to the status of your claim:
14) If you feel that you are being treated improperly report it immediately to the SSD Office of Inspector General and Office of Public Inquiry:
Inspector Generals Office
Allegation Management Division
PO Box 17768
Baltimore MD 21235
Rene Johns - Phone: 410-966-9158
Danny Johnson Phone: 410-966-9158
Social Security Administration Office of Public Inquiries
Contact: Mary Ann
15) If you are facing utility shutoff, foreclosure on your house or bankruptcy due to waiting for your claim to be processed - make copies of any letters/notices and send them to SSD/elected officials and your lawyer if you have one requesting a dire needs review of your case
16) If you have been denied and have been waiting too long to get a hearing - look into getting what is called a Pre-Hearing review of your case. SSR 97-2p: POLICY INTERPRETATION RULING TITLE II AND TITLE XVI:
PREHEARING CASE REVIEW BY DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES
17) If you have a hearing scheduled bring any new medical evidence, family, friends, doctors to speak on your behalf and ask to record it on audio/video tape.
18) Representation You may chose to fight your case alone (it is NOT mandatory to have a lawyer) or seek legal/advocate representation. You can hire a lawyer very important to actively keep after a lawyer if your hire one. Since they get paid 25% of your retro pay or current cap of $5300 it is in their best interest for your case to drag on the longer it takes to process the more they get. You may be able to take advantage of legal-aid or pro-bono services. You can get a paralegal or in some cases free advocacy from the Centers for Independent Living in your area:
19) Sign the Social Security Disability Reform Petition:
ęCopyright Linda Fullerton 6/4/03