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While Social Security’s own statistics show there is a greater likelihood of success when you retain a representative to assist you in your claim, there are things that you should do as well.

1. Make a list of all your treatment sources regardless of date with their names, addresses, phone numbers, and years seen. Typically, Social Security will only update your record for one year prior to your date of application. However, this can leave out important surgeries, diagnoses, and lab reports. A qualified Social Security attorney can assist you in obtaining those records.

2. Make a list of the side effects that you have from your medications. Don’t go off the list on the bottle, because they warn of everything except alien abduction. The issue is the specific side effects that you have.

3. If your condition has required you to rotate through medications as we find in multiple sclerosis, mental health, migraines… make sure you include this in your statement.

4. Turn in the paperwork they request as soon you can and keep a copy. The Social Security office quite often loses paperwork, even when we have a certified mail receipt showing they received it. They are quite happy to deny you on a technical basis for having not turned in the required paperwork.

5. When you describe how your conditions affect you and your daily activities, do not exaggerate but do not under report either. It is better not to use terms such as “all,” “everywhere,” “all the time,” “nothing,” “never.”

6. The very specific about your past work as well. For instance, simply indicating “accounting” does not really explain what you did. Were you an accounting clerk? A bookkeeper? A CPA? Did you simply do data entry? This is very important when they look at your past work skills.

7. If Social Security schedules a consultative exam for you, go to it. Again, do not exaggerate. They will give specific tests to determine if you are embellishing or overstating your symptoms.

8. If you retain an attorney, meet with them before the hearing so they make over the testimony questions with you. Review their hearing brief to make sure it accurately summarizes your conditions and your treatment.

9. Be ready to answer the question of why you would not do a simple job with no public contact, that allows you to sit and stand as you wish to do. Explaining that you have never done that type of job before is not a sufficient answer. You must specifically explain why you cannot do that type of job.

If you have questions about the Social Security process, call Glen Cook, Social Security Attorney, 801-261-0674. We do not charge for initial consultations.