Proving Your Disability

By Jennifer Scherf

Get Treatment

An unfortunate truth is that when someone becomes unable to work, they almost always lose their health insurance. If you do not have a spouse who is working and who can add you to their plan, and you cannot afford COBRA,* you can suddenly find yourself in need of treatment and without the insurance or funds to pay for it.

Daily I speak to people who have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they are unable to prove their disability. The complaint is always the same: “I cannot afford treatment.” The Social Security Administration will not approve a claim for disability without medical documentation.

Help is out there! You just have to know where to find it. The Department of Health and Human Services has free or low-cost clinics and hospitals serving every county in Texas. There may not be one that’s close to you if you do not live near a major city, but there is help if you can get there.

Medical records and statements from your doctor regarding your conditions and limitations are necessary if you want to prove you meet SSA’s definition of disability.
Go online, ask your doctor, call a local hospital or check the phone book for your nearest treatment source.

Take Your Medications

Once you find a medical provider, it is important you do what he or she says. Follow their instructions and take your medication as it is prescribed. The drug companies will give out free medications if you apply for help through your doctor. Your doctor can also prescribe low-cost generics and give you free samples. If there is a medication that can help your condition and you are not taking it, you will not be found disabled. You must be doing everything you can for yourself before the government will pay you disability benefits.

* COBRA is offered by employers. You pay your portion and your employer’s portion of the health insurance premiums. COBRA lasts 18 months, but can be extended an additional 11 months if you are found disabled before the 18 months is up.

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