If you have mixed connective tissue disease and your disability benefits claim was denied, you need to act quickly to file an appeal.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will only accept appeals within 60 days of receiving their decision, so it’s important to make sure your appeal is as complete as possible to improve your chances of being approved.
These three tips will help get you started on the right path.
Tip #1 - Examine All Side Effects
One of the biggest challenges with mixed connective tissue disease is that it can have a different impact for different people.
As with lupus and other connective tissue conditions, the side effects vary widely and include things like joint pain, skin problems, weakness in your muscles or even problems with your internal organs.
As such, how you are impacted by your condition can vary as well and the treatment for your condition might impact your ability to work, too, because of the specific way your mixed connective tissue disease has manifested.
Make sure that your appeal not only includes a complete explanation of how the condition affects you, but how the side effects also hinder your ability to work.
Tip #2 - Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
Since mixed connective tissue disease impacts people differently, one of the most important things to include in your appeal is a residual functional capacity (RFC) form.
This form is completed by your physician and it outlines the maximum amount of work you are capable of performing with your condition.
The RFC is the strongest piece of supporting evidence because your treating physician knows your health history and can paint a picture of your abilities and limitations, which are unique to you.
Tip #3 - Obtain Further Testing
In addition to outlining your side effects and obtaining an RFC, you should talk with your doctor to make sure that all of the relevant testing has been completed.
That way the person handling your appeal will be able to see all of your medical documentation so that it can be compared to the guidelines found in the SSA’s Blue Book.
It’s worth noting that your initial decision can take anywhere from three to five months, so by the time you get around to filing an appeal you may be experiencing new symptoms that are relevant to the decision process.
If any testing was missing from your initial disability claim, or if you receive additional testing after filing, make sure to include it in your appeal.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
Dealing with a disability appeal is stressful.
You have to collect more evidence to strengthen your case, and that can mean getting additional testing and exams to support your claim.
Not only that, but you’re working under a deadline, too. You have 60 days from the date of your decision so it’s important to work quickly.
In order to alleviate some of the stress, you might consider working with a disability attorney. By law, disability attorneys cannot collect fees in advance; they are only paid if you win your case, and that means there is very little risk involved.
And though hiring a disability does not guarantee that you will win your appeal, it does greatly improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
To learn more about how a disability attorney could help with your case, fill out a free case evaluation form.