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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How not to win your disability case

This blog entry is, of course, completely tongue-in-cheek.  No one who files a disability claim really wants to lose it.  But from the way that some people deal with their alleged disability, you could be forgiven for thinking that’s exactly what they want.

So, just as a way to provoke thought, and maybe open some eyes, here is my list of 10 of the best ways to make sure you lose your Social Security disability or SSI claim.

1.      Don’t get medical treatment.  This will help ensure that you have no medical evidence to back up whatever you say about your condition.  If you can’t afford treatment, don’t look for help.  Don’t apply for Medicaid.  Don’t look for coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  Don’t ask your county health department, your local legal aid program, any social workers you may know, or anyone else about sources of low-cost, sliding-scale, or even free medical care that may exist in your community.  After all, you want to lose, right?

2.      If you are prescribed medicine, don’t take it.  There are few better ways to persuade a judge that you are not serious about trying to get better.  And if you have a good reason for not taking it, such as (for example) it gives you nausea or makes you stay up all night, be sure not to report that to your doctor.  If you do report it, your doctor might come up with an alternative that did not have those side effects.  And of course, since you want to lose your case, medicine that helps your condition is not what you want.

3.      If you are getting treatment, skip your appointments at the slightest excuse (or for no reason at all except you don’t feel like going that day).  Even better, don’t call the doctor’s office ahead of time to let them know.  That way, your doctors will conclude that you are rude and inconsiderate.  Eventually they will get tired of dealing with you and stop seeing you.  Then you will have moved from method # 3 to method # 1 (see above).

4.      If your doctor recommends that you do something, don’t do it.  Don’t discuss it with them.  Don’t explain why you don’t want to do it.  Don’t ask if there are any alternatives or other ways of doing what your doctor wants you to do.  Just don’t do it.  After all, who knows more about medicine, your doctor or you?

5.      If Social Security schedules a physical or mental examination for you, don’t go.  Be sure not to let anyone know in advance that you aren’t going.  If the time or place scheduled for the exam won’t work for you, don’t tell anyone and ask for a rescheduling.  Just don’t go.  Failure to cooperate with Social Security while they are deciding your claim is one of the very best ways to lose your case.  In fact, it’s almost guaranteed.

6.      Exaggerate your complaints.  Make things sound worse than they really are.  This will help ensure that no one believes anything you say about your condition.  If you truly want to lose, persuading the people who are deciding your case that you are untrustworthy is a really good way to start.

7.      Lie.

8.      Don’t cooperate with your lawyer.  If your lawyer asks you for information, be sure not to provide it.  If your lawyer wants to meet with you before the hearing, be sure not to go.  If your lawyer leaves you a phone message, don’t return the call.  These tactics will help neutralize your lawyer and reduce or even eliminate his ability to help you win.

9.      Whine and complain to anyone at the Social Security office who has anything to do with your case.  Be sure to explain to them in detail how badly you think they do their jobs, and tell them you resent how they are wasting your tax money, even if you don’t pay any taxes.  Announce to everyone within earshot that you are absolutely entitled to benefits.  Demand to know why all those other perfectly healthy people are getting benefits, while you, who are in such horrible condition, are being denied.

10.    If you are at the point where a hearing has been scheduled for you with an administrative law judge, skip the hearing.  Don’t let anyone know ahead of time that you are doing it, and don’t explain afterward.  Not only will your case probably be dismissed, but you will have the pleasure of knowing that you have delayed someone else from getting benefits who could have used the hearing slot you were given and did not use.


Okay, that’s enough of that.  In reality, of course, you should do none of the above things.  Generally speaking, you should do the opposite, because in reality you want to win your case, not lose it.  You should stay in treatment.  Take the medications you are prescribed.  Keep your appointments.  Follow your doctor’s advice.  Go to any exams that Social Security schedules for you.  Be absolutely honest with Social Security, your doctors, and anyone else about anything relating to your claim.  Cooperate with your lawyer.  Cooperate with the people at the Social Security office and respect the work they do.  If you have a hearing, make sure you go. 

Doing all of these things will not guarantee that you win your case.  But it will give you your best chance of doing so. 

And if you are going to make the effort to file a disability claim, and to persevere with it, isn’t it a bit silly not to do the things that will give you your best chance of success?

4:35 pm | link 

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