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Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

If there is one valuable lesson that I remember as a student, it is the "Five Ps". Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. This was a phrase that my Dad often related to me before taking college exams, law school finals, and while studying for the 4 state Bar Exams that I sat for from 2008-2011. If only I had listened to this advice earlier in life, I think I'd have accomplished so much more!

This theory translates directly into my practice today. I often tell my clients about this phrase as it is critical to the success of their case. An application for #SocialSecurity Disability Benefits isn't simply submitting an application online a It is very much like preparing for a very important examination! One that determines how much or how little you will earn in your future. Granted, you receive disability benefits rather than a paycheck.

Preparing for your application is essential. I've compiled a short list of must haves that will assist your attorney and case manager in carefully and strategically presenting and putting your #BestCaseForward. Follow these 5 steps and we guarantee that your experience fighting for #SSD will be far more pleasant than someone who didn't take the time to organize and prepare:

1. Pinpoint your exact date when you became "unable to work full time" This is a critical piece of information for every case. If approved, the #SSA only pays retroactive benefits from the time of filing (in #SSI cases) or 12 months prior to your time of filing (in #SSDI cases). Therefore, you must accurately report the last day you were able to engage in substantial gainful activity (i.e. "full time work"). Note, some clients adjust their work due to physical and/or mental limitations and slowly wind down their job until they finally stop. Talk to our attorneys to determine the very best date to maximize your benefits! (For more information about Alleged Onset Dates, visit:

2. Create a COMPLETE list of medical conditions that impede your ability to work. It is important to understand that you can have multiple conditions when claiming disability. All medical conditions, for which you are receiving medical care, should be included in your application. If it impacts your ability to work, INCLUDE IT! Example: Joe has a spinal condition. He filed benefits alleging only physical limitations as a result of the spinal condition. However, Joe also suffers severe migraines as a side effect of his pain medications. He spends 2-3 days a week suffering and isolating himself to a dark room in his home. Joe should include migraines in his application! (For more information about medically determinable conditions, visit:

3. List out ALL medical providers treating you for each of your alleged conditions. The SSA is going to require a complete list of all medical care you have received during your #disability time frame. This correlates with item #1 on this list. Since you became unable to work, who has been treating your medical conditions? SSA typically looks at medical records from 12-24 months preceding your onset date. (Providers include: Primary Care Doctors, Surgeons, Physical Therapists, Holistic Treatments, Chiropractic Care, Mental Health Care, etc.). If you are unsure whether a treating source is relevant, talk to our attorneys today! (For more information about Treating Sources, visit:

4. Jot down all of your medications (prescribed or Over The Counter!) Most, if not ALL, disability applicants are taking some sort of "medication cocktail" for their impairments. This list shouldn't be limited to only those prescribed by your doctors. You should also include OTC medications or holistic remedies. The objective is to prove to the SSA that you are adhering to all of the suggested measures related to caring for your conditions. Equally as important are the SIDE EFFECTS you experience. If you suffer from excruciating migraines

Gramenos Law Group recommends keeping a notebook during the entire SSD process

from you pain medication, this could help boast the strength of your case!

5. Where have you worked over the past 15 years? The SSA wants to know what kind of career or job history you have had in the past. This will ONLY include work performed at the SGA level (See definition of SSA's criteria here: since your Alleged Onset Date of Disability established in item #1. What we need in order to file your application is very similar to a resume. Include the name of the company where you worked, the date range, the job title, your pay details, your hours, and the type of job duties performed day-to-day.

Once you have all the above information prepped and ready, you will cruise through your application in no time! Ensure that you either email or fax a copy of this information to your case manager or attorney one day prior to your scheduled application so you're both on the same page! If you are ready to file your application for benefits, call or visit us today! or call 888-983-3890.

For a FREE template form to prepare for your application, email us at

The information on this blog is intended only for guidance and is not legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney.

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