How to Establish Your Disability and Get the Benefits You Deserve

By Jennifer Scherf-Cook

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 onto their plan and you cannot afford COBRA,* you suddenly find yourself in need of treatment and without insurance or the funds to pay for it out of pocket. 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.”

SSA will not approve a claim for disability without medical documentation. It is the applicant’s burden to prove that they suffer from a medical condition that keeps them from being able to work.

Help is out there! You just have to know where to find it. The State 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 close to you if you do not live near a major city, but there is help if you can get there.

Obtaining ongoing medical records as well as statements from your doctor regarding your conditions and limitations is vital if you want to prove you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability.

Go online, ask your doctor, call a local hospital or check the phonebook for your nearest treatment source.

Take your medications and follow doctor’s orders.

Once you find a medical provider, it is important you do as they say. Follow their instructions and take your medication as it is prescribed. The drug companies give out free medications if you apply with the assistance of your medical provider. Your doctor can also prescribe low-cost generics and give you samples. Free clinics also give vouchers for a certain amount of free medications per month.

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 for 18 months, but can be extended an additional 11 months if you are found to be disabled before the 18 months are up.

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