If you have made it to the hearing stage of the disability appeals process, you should highly consider submitting letters written by friends, family, caretakers or former employers to the judge who will be hearing your case. This and any additional evidence you have will help improve your chances for a favorable decision for SSDI benefits.
The appeal letter should include information about your disability and how it limits your day-to-day activities. Therefore, you should be very selective about who you ask to write a letter in support of your case for Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The person you ask to write a letter should have very intimate knowledge of your condition, and a high understanding of how your disability affects your ability to take care of yourself and work a full-time job. Therefore, it is advisable to ask a caretaker or former employer/co-worker to write the letter. Be sure to give them plenty of time before the hearing date.
A caretaker (or family member, if that is who primarily helps you out) should include information about your limitations when it comes to taking care of yourself, such as clothing, bathing, cooking, shopping, housework, paying bills and any other activities you have trouble doing independently. They should also detail how they help you perform each activity, and any provide any new evidence they may have as it relates to your care.
A former employer or co-worker should discuss how your condition limited your ability to do your job. For example, if you were frequently absent, required additional time to complete tasks or had trouble doing certain assignments, they should definitely mention that in their letter, as it can give the administrative law judge or hearing officer a better understanding of why you are unable to work.
Because the administrative law judge has such a high caseload and a limited amount of time, your letter should focus more on quality than quantity. Request the people writing them to try and keep it to one page or less to avoid an unfavorable decision. They should also consider getting the letter notarized to show it is authentic. Your local Social Security office may be able to recommend a notary if you need help finding one.
You disability lawyer will probably want to review these letters before you submit them to ensure everything is accurate – this is completely normal. They want just want to make sure you are not submitting incorrect information that could have the potential to result in a denial letter.
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