Most cases we see are back injuries because it is very difficult to sit, stand or walk with a back problem. You can’t work if you can’t sit, stand or walk a total of eight hours a day. We also see a number of mental health cases, diabetes, heart issues, and lung problems. Almost no one has just one condition they’re claiming disability for. Nor should they. You should mention anything that would limit your ability to work. You have allergies? Throw it in. Medications make you sensitive to sunlight? Throw it in. Poor eyesight? Throw it in. Carpal tunnel syndrome? Throw it in. Anything that would eliminate a job should be included. Cases are won all the time on how much a person can use his hands or how much he can lift. It does no good to mention to your attorney after the hearing that you can’t do that cleaner job because you can’t be around dust and fumes if you never mentioned it before. Bring up everything.
Medication side effects are also important. If you have to be on a medication to keep you alive but it makes you sleep half the day and lose your memory, you really need to mention that. If you’re losing weight because you’re throwing up constantly from your medication, tell Social Security. You can’t work if you’re throwing up constantly or sleeping half the day. Your doctor should definitely be aware of the side effects so mention it to him as well. The side effects should be well documented in the record.
Remember, if it's not in the medical record, it doesn't exist for Social Security. Just telling your attorney that you have trouble breathing does not matter for the purposes of your disability case. You need to tell a doctor. (Actually, regardless of whether or not you have a disability case, you really need to tell a doctor if you're having trouble breathing.) Bringing something up for the first time in a hearing is not helpful. You also need some proof of it even if it happened long ago. Say you were in a car accident ten years ago and you still have back pain. Even if you don't think a doctor can do anything, we still need some recent medical records showing that it causes you pain and limitations. Particularly if you worked after the accident occurred. Social Security doesn't care about something that happened years ago. They care about what happened to make you stop working and how you are doing now.
This blog is an excerpt from Social Security Disability Benefits for Beginners, now available at Amazon.com. If you have any further questions, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231 or at www.fosterlawaz.com.