When people in California face disabling illnesses and injuries that prevent them from returning to work, they may feel pressured to minimize their symptoms and conditions. People may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their disabilities, or they may face years of family or social conditioning that encourage them to dismiss their own pain. However, this can work against a person considerably when he or she is applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

When people apply for SSD, they need to fully state the ways in which their disabilities interfere with life. This is especially true during phone interviews with a disability examiner when answering questions about how a disability affects activities of daily living. It is also particularly important when attending a medical examination scheduled by the Social Security Administration. For example, doctors providing examinations for Social Security Disability applicants may observe a patient walking to or from the car or climbing on to the examination table to determine if their disability is real. Many disabled people struggle to hide their disabilities on a regular basis and may continue to do so in these situations.

Some people may give answers like “It’s not too bad” when questioned by a doctor because they feel intimidated or ashamed about applying for disability. However, these types of answers can be used against applicants for much-needed benefits. Therefore, SSD benefits applicants should not hesitate to fully express their disability physically and verbally when meeting with doctors or other representatives of the SSA.

People who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits could face an arduous, lengthy process that includes initial denials and appeals. A disability lawyer may be able to help people throughout all stages of the process from the initial application to a hearing before a judge, and representation is strongly correlated with a higher likelihood of a successful application.