This week I have the pleasure of attending the NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives – you see why we shorten it!) Fall Conference in Denver, CO.  One of the speakers today was Robert Pelc, Ph.D, P.C. who listed 10 ways a claimant can increase their chances of winning their mental disability claim.  I’ve shortened and adapted his list which I think is good information for a mental, physical, or combination of both types of disability claims.

  1.  You should respond to all requests from your state’s Disability Determination Section.  They will ask you to complete various forms and send them back to them.  If you do not complete the forms in a timely manner, your claim will be delayed and maybe even denied.
  2. Disclose all of your past treatment.  This allows the Social Security Administration to obtain all medical and psychological records that are relevant to your claim.
  3. You should try to get treatment for your physical or mental disabilities.  If you do not have insurance, there are resources out there for you.  It is difficult to win a case if you are claiming a mental or physical disability, yet you are receiving no treatment.
  4. You need to  be compliant with treatment.  For example, if you are claiming a disability due to diabetes, but are not watching your diet; not checking your blood sugars; or not taking your insulin as directed it may be very difficult for the Social Security Administration to find you disabled.
  5. If you are using/abusing illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol, you need to manage, control, or eliminate all usage.  This is especially important in mental disability claims.  The Social Security Administration wants to see whether your mental limitations improve or worsen when you are abstaining from drugs or alcohol.
  6. Be honest.  Don’t exaggerate your symptoms or condition.  Enough said.
  7. You should hire an attorney/representative who’s experienced in disability law and Social Security rules and regulations.  (This came from Dr. Pelc, not me, although I agree of course.)  As he noted, you almost double your chances of winning your claim if you have an experienced attorney or representative.
  8. You should follow the advice of your legal representative.  They’ve been in Court; you haven’t.
  9. On the day of your hearing, show up.  Better yet – show up early.  (I always ask my clients to be there about an hour before the time of their hearing.)
  10. Answer the questions asked accurately and politely.

If you are interested in filing for Social Security Disability or just want to see if you have a possible case, please feel free to contact me by completing the form on this page, emailing me at, or calling me at 865-602-2255.  I handle cases all over East Tennessee and beyond.