Whether you're filing a claim for disability insurance from the Social Security Administration or a private company, you usually bring along as much information as possible from your primary physician to back up your case. However, some disabled people already struggle financially to the point where they can't afford spending hundreds of dollars to visit a doctor. If you're trying to establish your disabled status without a physician's help, try these six tips to increase your chances of getting your disability claims approved.
Gather Old Records
The best medical records for disability claims are as recent as possible, showing your relationship with your doctor from the past few weeks and months. You specifically need to bring proof at least one visit in the last three months for the best results. Records that are a few years old can still help your case if they clearly outline your current condition and any treatments that failed to produce results. This technique works best for conditions you've struggled with for decades or since childhood, especially when you can show there was little to no improvement over the years.
Visit a Consultant
If you're working with the Social Security Administration and you can't provide recent records, you're likely to get schedule for a consultative exam with a physician. This gives you a chance to explain your symptoms and get examined without spending a cent on private care. Keep in mind these doctors aren't always as sympathetic to patients as an independent professional, and the exam is very brief and rarely produces a lot of evidence for your case.
Document Your Medications and Treatments
Perhaps you visited a doctor or clinic a few months ago and managed to get a prescription for medication or equipment you've been using on your own ever since. You could ask your pharmacy for a printed record of the medicines you purchase and the frequency of your refills. You can also bring along information on alternative treatments, such as massage or meditation classes, that you're using to deal with the symptoms of your disorder.
Visit a Clinic or Emergency Room
Don't let the high office visit fees of a specialist or general practitioner limit your attempts to establish a clear medical record regarding your disability. You can seek low-cost or free help by visiting:
- The local emergency room, even when you're not experiencing a life-threatening episode, which can't demand payment when you can prove a lack of income
- Free and sliding scale medical clinics, some of which specifically help disabled patients
- Doctors willing to provide pro bono services, delayed billing, or a payment plan you can afford
Showing proof you've applied for Medicaid and explored other local assistance options will greatly improve your chances at getting a disability claim approved without a recent visit to a doctor.
Show the Link to the Condition
Sometimes the condition itself stops you from seeing a doctor. For example, a person with severe anxiety or a medical phobia obviously will struggle to keep appointments and get professional help, even from a sympathetic therapist. Explain how your inability to see a doctor is proof of your condition if it legitimately interferes with your ability to get help.
Rely on Witnesses
Finally, try asking caregivers and former employers to write letters about your condition. Personal friends and family members are too close to give this kind of testimony, but relatively unbiased third parties can help a lot by explaining the symptoms they've noticed and how they've helped you recently to deal with your condition.
Disability claims are hard to get approved even when you've got a mountain of fresh evidence supporting you. If you're struggling to get the help you need without going into debt to see a doctor, look into hiring a disability lawyer or advocate that agrees not to seek payment until your claim is approved.