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If your illness, injury, or condition is severe enough to take away your ability to work, it should be necessary for you to continue to receive ongoing medical treatment. Along with showing concern for your health, this provides both you and the Social Security Administration (SSA) with a medical paper trail. We understand that medical treatment is expensive, especially without insurance, but seeking treatment from a physician early and often will work in your favor.

When meeting with your doctor, be as specific and detailed as possible. This will help demonstrate the veracity of you statements to both your doctor and the SSA. Effective explanations of your pain, illness, or condition and the ways in which it limits your daily activities will add credibility to any medical notes that the doctor will take when meeting with you.

Along with physician notes, we advise keeping a personal record of your pain, illness, or condition and the ways in which it hinders your ability to work and function at your maximum capacity. For example, if you suffer from seizures, document the date and time of each seizure, along with the intensity, recovery time, and any other information that could be relevant in explaining the severity of this impairment. Recording this information acts as another piece of evidence to demonstrate and explain what you go through and how it steals your ability to work.

When meeting with your primary care physician (PCP), consider asking for a referral to see a specialist. A specialist is a doctor who focuses their practice solely within one organ system; for example: a cardiologist takes care of your heart, a pulmonologist takes care of your lungs, and a neurologist focuses on your nervous system. Specialists are experts in their field, which makes their opinion even more valuable. A judge will look more favorably upon the opinion of a specialist more than a general physician when deciding your case.

Finally, if your doctor recommends that your do something or stop doing something to improve your health, please do it. Although disagreements about treatment are bound to come up between patient and doctor, under no circumstance should you completely disregard your physician's prescribed treatment. If a course of treatment, such as surgery, has little chance of improving your quality of life, the SSA will not hold that against you when determining your qualification for benefits, just ensure that there is proper documentation in place that proves the success or failure of such a treatment.

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