How do I prove I am disabled?

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It is not enough to be disabled. You have to prove it.

How? This varies a lot depending on what your particular health problem is. For example, if you have a herniated disc in your back, ideally you need an MRI or an EMG/nerve conduction test to prove that.

And it also depends on your age, education, and work experience. For example, a 55 year-old, illiterate, general laborer might be disabled if they can't stand up and walk around, because there is probably no sit-down work available for him, and he is too old to be re-trainable. But a 25 year old lawyer who can't stand up much is not disabled.

And if the Social Security Administration has sent you to a doctor who says nothing is wrong with you, you are going to have to get a lot more evidence to prove he is wrong.

The only way to be positive that you have done all you need to do to prove you are disabled is to sit down with all your medical records and a lawyer who has handled a lot of Social Security cases.

In most cases, a critical piece of proving disability is getting the written support of your doctor.

However, it is not nearly enough for your doctor simply to write a note stating you are disabled.  The regulations and the judges who interpret them require your doctor to explain what specific limitations you have and provide reasoning for those conclusions.

Unfortunately, the regulations that determine the disability decision are complex and precisely worded.  It is unlikely your doctor will happen to say exactly what is needed to precisely meet the disability requirements given that your doctor is not trained in the exact wording of the disability regulations.  A big part of what we do to help your win your case is to make sure your doctor gives clear answers to the questions that are important to the judge.

For instance, if you have chronic pain, it can be hard to prove the how bad your pain is.  We always try to prove an underlying condition that can be expected to produce significant pain. We always also try to get clear statements from your doctors as to why they know you are suffering pain at the level you claim. The more doctors supporting you and acknowledging your obvious and genuine pain the better.

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