The More, the Merrier: Will Having More Medical Conditions Help Me Win My Disability Benefits Case?
Recently I was sitting down with our team and a current client who unfortunately has to contend with both a Social Security disability hearing and a Maryland state disability retirement hearing in 2022. It is an understatement to say that I do not envy her, but we’re so glad that we can help with both of her cases. In our meeting, she asked me a question that I’ve heard many many times before: How can Social Security or the Maryland State Retirement and Pension system say I’m not disabled when I have so many medical conditions and so many doctors? And my answer is surprising to almost everyone: usually the more medical conditions you have and the more doctors you have, the worse it is in disability benefits cases.
The Importance of Having a Specialist’s Opinion for Your Benefits Claim
“Usually” is an important word here because I’m not talking about people who have only one or two doctors. It is, in my experience, much better to be seeing another medical provider besides your primary care provider in order to build supportive medical evidence. People who are seeing specialists are much more likely to win their Social Security disability, Maryland state disability retirement, federal employee disability retirement (FERS Disability), long term disability benefits, etc. Of course there are kinds of disability benefits that we don’t do, and that we don’t know about. But what my client was really asking me about was the number of medical conditions she has. It was a list of 12 to 14 medical conditions, depending on which of her providers you ask.
Do More Medical Conditions Mean I’ll Receive More Disability Benefits?
Everyone seems to think that a disability benefits application is like a basketball game. If you score enough medical condition baskets then you win. That sounds ridiculous using the metaphor but I just used, but you believe it when you’re living with these terrible conditions and you know how much time it’s sapping from your life, making full-time work impossible. So while you are experiencing these conditions that often times are making each other worse, you think that the Social Security administration or the long-term disability insurance company or the Maryland Sate Retirement and Pension system will realize that you are disabled just from the sheer number of doctors appointments you have. I’m sorry to have to report to you that this is usually wrong.
These entities have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, so they want to see one or two medical conditions which are so disabling that they only need to read the medical records for five minutes before they make their decision. This is a terrible way to treat people whose lives have been torn apart by a medical condition, but unfortunately here we are. Now don’t think that this means you should not list all of your medical conditions on the applications that you file with the entities I just listed. You could actually lose the chance to argue that you were disabled from a medical condition if you don’t list it. What I’m saying is that the application process will not be easier because you have 30 medical conditions with 45 different diagnoses. The application process will actually be harder and longer than you think. So be ready.
The best way to be ready? Hire an attorney who can evaluate your claim and discuss how to handle your application. Our firm offers free consultations, and we encourage you to give us a call or complete our contact form.