Filing an application for Social Security Disability benefits can be a daunting process. You need to present your case to the Social Security Administration in the best possible light.
What you do not say to the SSA is just as important, if not more so, than what you do say. In this article, we discuss what not to say during your interview. Read these tips to increase your chances of a successful application for disability.
Do not downplay your symptoms or limitations.
Many people feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing their struggles. Remember that the SSA needs a clear understanding of your situation to make an informed decision.
Be honest and transparent about your disability but avoid minimizing the impact of your symptoms or limitations on your daily life. Avoid statements such as “It is not that bad,” or “I can still do some things,” during your interview with the claim examiner. Instead, focus on describing how your disability affects your ability to work and perform daily activities.
A residual functional capacity form can help support your claims. You can download a free RFC form here.
Do not be vague or ambiguous about your medical condition.
When discussing your disability, it’s crucial to be specific about your medical condition and symptoms. Saying that you are in pain or have trouble walking is not sufficient. Provide details about the type and intensity of your pain, the frequency of your symptoms, and how they limit your mobility. By being clear and specific, you can help the SSA better understand your situation and the extent of your limitations.
Do not mention looking for work or make it sound like you are able to work (unless you are specifically asked about it).
Whether you qualify for disability benefits depends on demonstrating your inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). As such, you should avoid mentioning any job searches or interviews to the claim examiner – unless you are specifically asked about such. Avoid discussing any recent work activities, even if they were only part-time or temporary, again unless you are specifically asked about it.
Do not discuss unrelated medical issues.
While it’s essential to be thorough when discussing your disability, you should avoid mentioning unrelated medical issues or conditions. Only discuss the disabling medical problems directly related to your disability claim. Bringing up minor or unrelated issues may confuse or distract the SSA representative.
Do not exaggerate your symptoms or limitations.
While it’s essential to be honest about your disability, avoid overstating your symptoms or limitations. The SSA may become suspicious if your descriptions seem too extreme or inconsistent with your medical records. Stick to the facts and provide an accurate picture of your daily struggles and limitations.
Do not focus on your financial difficulties.
Your financial hardships may be a significant concern for you (and rightfully so). However, the SSA is primarily interested in your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work. Avoid discussing your financial problems, as this can divert attention away from the essential aspects of your disability claim.
Do not mention any other legal issues.
If you’re involved in any legal disputes, it’s best not to mention these during your interview. Discussing legal matters can complicate your case and may lead the SSA to question your motivations for applying for benefits.
Do not provide inconsistent or contrasting information.
Make sure your statements during the interview are consistent with the information provided on your application and in your medical records. If you provide contrasting information by accident, it could raise red flags and lead to further scrutiny of your claim. Before your interview, review your application and medical records to ensure you’re familiar with the details and can provide consistent responses.
Do not criticize your healthcare providers.
It’s important to maintain a respectful tone during your interview, even when discussing your healthcare providers. Avoid making negative comments about your doctors, therapists, or other medical professionals. This may cast doubt on the credibility of their assessments and opinions. Instead, focus on explaining the treatments you’ve received and how they’ve impacted your condition.
Do not refuse to answer questions or provide information.
During your interview, the SSA representative may ask you questions about your disability, work history, and daily activities. It’s essential to be cooperative and answer these questions to the best of your ability. If you refuse to provide information or appear unhelpful, it may negatively impact your claim.
Do not forget to mention assistive devices or special arrangements.
If you use any assistive devices such as a cane, wheelchair, or hearing aid, discuss how these devices help you perform daily activities. You also want to show that any such assistive devices have been prescribed as “medically necessary” by a doctor. Similarly, if you require special arrangements, such as frequent breaks or a modified work schedule, explain these as well.
In conclusion, being mindful of what not to say during your disability interview with the Social Security Administration can help you avoid common mistakes that may jeopardize your claim. Focus on your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work to increase your chances of a successful claim. Remember to be honest, specific, and cooperative during your interview. Do not hesitate to seek guidance from a disability attorney or advocate if you need assistance with your claim.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer for a FREE Consultation
When you need legal guidance from a disability expert, talk to a Social Security Disability attorney at Ortiz Law Firm. We can help you prepare for your disability interview and get the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.
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Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your disability claim. You can request a free case evaluation by completing our contact form or call us at (888) 321-8131. We help claimants in Florida and throughout the United States qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.