Disability is an employment law term that applies in situations where an employee’s work is affected by an injury or medical condition. Disability laws in addition to individual disability contracts may allow workers to claim benefits although they are not working due to their disability.
There are numerous examples of documents and evidence that will be required for an individual who is filing a disability claim, which may include, but may not be limited to:
- Document 1: Medical records – These are the records that detail an individual’s medical history. They may also be called health records.
- Document 2: Doctors reports – These are reports that are provided by the doctors who provided care to the claimant.
- Document 3: Disability expert witnesses – Expert witnesses may be needed to explain the claimant’s medical issues.
- Document 4: Medical test results – These are the results of any tests the claimant has undergone related to their injury or issue.
- Document 5: Work records – In order to be eligible for certain disability compensation, an individual must have worked for a certain period of time to earn credits.
- Document 6: Identification documents for the claimant – A claimant will be required to provide identifying information, such as a driver’s license and Social Security card to show that they are, in fact, the individual who is applying for disability.
It is important to note that the documents that are required will be unique to each individual’s disability claim. An attorney is best equipped to determine what evidence will be needed and best support a client’s claim for disability.
How Will This Evidence Make My Disability Case Stronger?
The evidence that is listed above can be used to make an individual’s disability claim stronger. In order to understand how, it may be helpful to understand the requirements for obtaining disability.
In order for an individual to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI), they have to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) definition of disability. The SSA uses a 5 step disability analysis in order to determine who is eligible to receive SSDI.
This means that, in order for an individual to qualify for SSDI, their disability has to be serious enough to limit an individual’s ability to work for a living. An individual’s medical records, test results, doctor’s reports, and expert witnesses can all be used to show how serious the individual’s issue or injury is.
It is important to note, however, that there are limits on the amount of income an individual can earn while they are receiving SSDI. This can be shown by the individual’s work records.
In order to receive SSDI, an individual must have earned enough work credits through their employment to qualify for SSDI if they become disabled. This is based on how much the individual earned in a year.
The SSA allows a worker to earn no more than 4 credits every year. As of 2022, the SSA provides an individual with one credit for every $1,510 they earn.
Generally, an individual will need 40 credits in order to qualify for SSDI. in addition, 20 of those 40 credits have to have been earned in the past 10 years. An individual can also use their medical records to show that they have a severe medical impairment.
A medical condition may be severe if the medical impairment:
- Significantly limits a worker’s physical or mental ability to do basic work activities; and
- Is caused by a medical condition or conditions that have existed or will last for at least a year.
If an individual has a combination of impairments, that may also limit their physical or mental ability to complete basic work, even if each single impairment alone would not. If the individual’s medical condition causes them functional limitations, such as difficulty lifting, standing, or walking, it can be considered a severe impairment.
How to File Evidence in Court for a Disability Case
The requirements for filing disability cases are numerous and very strict. If an individual fails to properly complete a form or provide a requested document, their entire claim can be dismissed.
Although an individual can file a disability case on their own, their changes of success greatly increase if they have the assistance of an attorney. There are attorneys who only handle these types of cases, as they can be so difficult to complete.
It is also common for an individual to file their initial claim on their own and then seek the assistance of an attorney to appeal the denial of their claim. In certain cases, disability claims may be denied due to a number of issues.
One of the more common issues is when the individual’s condition or injury does not fall into one of the categories or descriptions of conditions that are covered under the law. An individual’s lawyer can help them determine whether or not their condition is actually covered under disability laws.
Other issues that may impact an individual’s claim include:
- Disability insurance: The outcome of a, individual’s disability request may depend on whether or not they have some types of disability insurance;
- Total vs. partial disability: In certain cases, a disability request may result in an individual only receiving partial coverage; and
- Nature and extent of the condition: Disability payouts may depend on what type of condition it is, how long the individual has had it, and other factors.
An individual’s attorney will know what types of evidence are required to show that the individual’s condition is covered by the law and that it does cause them a severe impairment.
What If This Is Not Accepted by the Courts as Evidence?
Disability claims are handled by the SSA to begin but may end up in a court of law if the outcome is not satisfactory. Some cases may require a lawsuit to resolve major issues, such as when the agency fails to conduct a proper investigation.
The evidentiary rules for disability claims are not as stringent as those used in a court of law, as the case is being handled by a government agency and not in a court of law. Most of the evidence that is admitted in these cases is medical evidence.
The SSA may exclude medical evidence from certain sources unless they find they have good cause to consider it. An attorney will know what evidence is accepted and will be excluded from a disability claim.
A lawyer will also prepare multiple types of evidence to show the individual’s disability and how it impairs their ability to work.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Evidence?
Although it is possible for you to apply for social security disability benefits without the help of a lawyer, consulting with an experienced social security disability attorney can greatly increase the likelihood of your disability claim being approved. Your lawyer will be best suited to help you understand the specific laws in your state that govern disability benefits as well as how those laws can affect your eligibility status.
Your lawyer can help you gather all of the evidence that you will need for your claim as well as represent you during any hearings.