Do Letters Help or Hurt a Social Security Disability Case?

letters in social security disability claims

When individuals can’t work for at least a year because of a disability, have a disability that will ultimately result in death and cannot perform work as they previously did or adjust to new work, they will want to apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.

When you decide to apply for Social Security disability, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases in order to have the best chance of an approval. A Social Security attorney knows what the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to approve a claim, so they will be able to instruct you on what documents and information is necessary as well as other steps that can be taken to bolster the case. One such measure could be obtaining letters from credible sources to provide further evidence of the disability.

Who Should You Ask to Write a Letter of Support?
Often, people will ask friends or family members to write a letter supporting them and their case. These can be informative, but the administrative law judge may disregard them. However, a letter from someone who has seen how your disability affects your every day and ability to work might help you win your case.

Keep it concise: It’s important that friends, family, previous employers or caregivers do not ramble in their letters. They should be brief and informative. In these situations, quality is more important, especially because the judge won’t want to read through anything long-winded. Additionally, only ask a few people to write letters to avoid overwhelming the judge. Pick two or three people who will best support your Social Security disability claim and ask them for a letter.

Former employers are great resources: Someone you’ve previously worked with or for could benefit your Social Security disability claim because they saw first-hand how your disability affected how well you were able to do your job. Whether it was needing help to perform basic functions, extra time to get work done or you had to leave because you were no longer able fulfill the job duties, the judge will likely take these letters into account when making their decision.

Only ask people who help you: People who have a deep understanding of your disability and witness your shortcomings themselves because they have to help you could be beneficial as well. If  you have a caregiver, friend or family member who you need to assist you with complete daily activities like bathing, grocery shopping, cooking or getting dressed, a letter from them describing your limitations and how their support could be taken into account as proof of your disability.

Edit and notarize letters: Before submitting any letters on behalf of your Social Security disability claim, it’s important to edit them so they are understandable. Have your lawyer review the letters before submitting them to make sure they are actually helpful and not harmful in anyway way, and have them notarized to prove their authenticity.

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