I got a lawyer after I was denied and here is what I found out:
1. SSDI requires you to prove you can not do ANY work, including tollbooth worker, lighter bulb tester, perfume sniffer etc, not just that you can't perform your current job.
2. Statements from a nurse practioner will not be considered. If you are seeing a nurse practioner you will need to get a statement from the md/phd in charge of the office.
3. On the application you will be asked what jobs you have had in the last 15 years and what duties you performed. In actuality SSDI will take the job title you list and plug it into their database to get a list of duties "typically" performed by someone with that title, they don't care what duties you list. If your duties do not match the title your company gave you, you should make up a title that does match your duties. Example: I was given the title "manager" because the company I worked for got tired of dealing with customer complaints and customers asking to speak with a "manager". i didn't have any actual authority. Even though I stated that clearly on my SSDI application they considered me to have manager experience which is a more sedentary position than laborer.
4. Get a lawyer speciallizing in SSDI BEFORE you apply. SSDI will read into/interpret your answers to their benefit not yours. Example: if you say you "can't stand long without taking breaks" (meaning you need to sit for 10 minutes after standing 15 minutes) they will interpret your answer as you "can work standing because companies are required by law to give breaks". I don't know about anyone else but my last company gave a 30 minute meal break if you worked more than 5 hours...if you were scheduled for exactly 5 hours you didn't get a break at all. Your answers need to be so very precise that the average person cuts his own throat without knowing it. It's terrible SSDI does that but it's the truth.
Also should have mentioned that many SSDI lawyers will work for a percentage of any retro benefits you are awarded so you won't need to come up with money up front. Amen for that! If I had money to pay a lawyer up front I wouldn't be struggling through the SSDI system to get money.
get copies of your medical records and surgery records, if not for my surgical report stating that post surgery I had a " lifestyle and work limiting artery blockage and claudication" I would have never had the nerve to file for ssdi and without any lawyers! I was approved within 4 months of filing. I know of people who have been trying with lawyers for years. I filled out all my own paperwork, but I also had the backup of all my medical records and the information they provided was extremely valuable!
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