Don’t Ramble Or Go Off Subject
For most claimants, the hearing process is a nerve-wracking experience. If, like many of us, you are prone to ramble on when under pressure, it’s important that you be especially prepared to provide succinct answers to the ALJ’s questions. When a claimant answers questions with longwinded explanations that stray from the ALJ’s question, the ALJ may stop listening and miss important statements you make, or he or she may become irritated and interrupt you.
It may be helpful to practice answering questions with your attorney or a friend. If you find yourself digressing from the topic of the question, stop, take a deep breath, and refocus your answer. If you have an attorney, he or she should either practice the questions with you or provide you with a copy of the questions you are likely to face well before the hearing date so that you can familiarize yourself with them.
How Does Ssd Impact Long
Receiving SSD could affect your long-term disability benefits. In most cases, your SSD benefit amount will be offset. For example, if you are receiving a monthly LTD benefit of $2,500 and $800 per month in SSD benefits, your long-term disability insurer will reduce your LTD benefits by $800. Your LTD insurance company could take some of your back benefits. SSD may also provide partial benefits also known as auxiliary benefits to your spouse or children who are dependents.
Stress Survey: What Types Of Stress Are You Coping With
Problem solving the controllable aspects of a stressful situation is one of the most effective ways to lower our stress. Identifying the problem and breaking it down into manageable chunks is the first step in creating a plan of action.
You can use this survey to help identify the different sources of stress in your life, and to track your progress in coping with them in a healthy way. Check the boxes beside the sentences you feel apply to you, then brainstorm strategies for coping with or solving each problem. See the Coping with Stress section of this wellness module for more information and tips on how to ensure your coping choices lead to reductions in stress and a healthier, more fulfilling life for you and your loved ones. Try taking the survey once a month to track patterns in your behaviourand the positive and negative ways you manage stress.
Adapted from: Holmes and Rahe, 1967 Wheaton, 1997.
About the authors
Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division helps people access the community resources they need to maintain and improve mental health, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. CMHA BC has served BC for over 60 years.
Anxiety Canada promotes awareness of anxiety disorders and increases access to proven resources. Visit www.anxietycanada.com.
Select sources and additional resources:
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Putting It All Together
Every job is going to have some stress involved, and everyone ends up getting a little stressed out every now and again. Part of what makes you the perfect candidate and will help set you apart from other job seekers is understanding how to leverage that stress to your advantage. By not letting tough situations shut you down and still being able to complete tasks to the best of your ability regardless of the stress youre under, youre showing a hiring manager that youre a professional and ultimatelythe best candidate for the job.
What Is Included In The Activities Of Daily Living Questionnaire
The Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire is more formally known as Function Report Adult Form SSA-3373-BK. This form asks about your abilities and limitations in performing tasks such as caring for yourself and your household.
Some of the questions that you can expect on the form include:
If you answer yes, or in such a way as to indicate that you are disabled, then you will be asked to further explain your limitations or condition in a short answer format. Additionally, there is space at the bottom of the questionnaire for you to add in information that was not included in the routine questions.
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What Are The Benefits Of Hiring A Long
Its no secret that insurance companies can be difficult to deal with when it comes to long-term disability claims. Here are three reasons why its crucial to have a long-term disability attorney on your side:
- Increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
- Guidance and support through the process.
- Ensure all required deadlines will be met.
You have enough to worry about when you have an illness or injury that prevents you from working. Handling your own long-term disability case will certainly bring on stress you could do without. Individuals who file a long-term disability claim on their own are expected to know complicated ERISA laws. Lack of experience can cause you to lose your long-term disability case. Contact Dabdoub Law Firm at 969-0488 today to learn more about how we can help you get the long-term disability benefits you deserve.
Learn To Accept Your Disability
It can be incredibly difficult to accept your disability. Acceptance can feel like giving inthrowing in the towel on life and your future. But refusing to accept the reality of your limitations keeps you stuck. It prevents you from moving forward, making the changes you need to make, and finding new goals.
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Tip #: Make Sure Your Answers Are Short Consistent And Match What Your Doctor Says About Your Functionality Limits
If your doctor says you cant lift more than five pounds, are you still picking up your three-year-old grandson? Maybe your doctor says your head injury makes it hard for you to concentrate eight hours at work. Telling the SSA you like reading makes it sound like youre able to pay attention better than your doctor expects. Make sure you dont tell the SSA you can do more than your doctor says you can, especially without help. You may feel like writing detailed notes explaining how hard your life is now compared to before. But for this functionality form, short, consistent answers are always better. Giving too much information doesnt help your case and could actually hurt your claims chances for approval.
Representation At Your Hearing
Having legal representation at a disability hearing, in the form of an experienced disability lawyer or non-attorney representative, can help you answer the questions in a way that will help support your disability claim rather than possibly undermine it. A disability advocate can provide you with pre-hearing preparation, which will help you avoid answering the judge’s questions in a way that may hurt your case and can allay any fears you may have. Additionally and, perhaps, more importantly, a disability representative can answer many of the judge’s questions that arise at a disability hearing. Here are some other ways that having a disability lawyer can help you win your hearing.
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Be Prepared To Explain Bad Facts
Medical records sometimes contain “bad” facts. “Bad” facts can hurt your case if they are not handled properly. For example, one common problem with people who suffer from chronic pain is over-reliance on pain medication. In these cases, medical records may state that the claimant suffers from narcotic dependency or is suspected of abusing pain medication. Here, the worst thing a claimant can do is to deny the problem or try to blame the medical provider. The best answer is the truthful oneâfor example, that there was a problem with pain medication and you are receiving treatment for the dependency, or that you switched or reduced medications to minimize the possibility of addiction.
Read Up On How Social Security Evaluates Disability Claims Based On Generalized Persistent Anxiety Phobias Panic Attacks Obsessive
Social anxiety and other anxiety disorders can be socially limiting at best but at worst can be so disruptive to a person’s life that it becomes impossible to work. Anxiety disorders involving phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , and generalized anxiety can qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they are well documented and severely debilitating. If you’ve been diagnosed with one of the above disorders and it affects your ability to leave the house, function socially, concentrate, or manage the tasks of daily living, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Some people claim they have anxiety, nervousness , or phobias, but their symptoms are unfortunately a part of modern, stressful life. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for an anxiety disorder, you have to be able to show that your symptoms are chronic and that they meet one of several specific medical diagnoses related to anxiety and that they severely and negatively impact your ability to function in life. In order to suss out cases of anxiety disorders that are truly preventing someone from doing any kind of work, the SSA has developed a list of requirements that your anxiety disorder must fit into.
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How Do I Prepare For An Ime
To help increase your chance of a favorable decision, its important to know what to expect. Follow these tips on how to prepare for an IME:
- Arriving on time for your scheduled appointment.
- Take notes during your exam or bring a trusted relative or friend to take notes for you.
- Record how long the exam lasted, what questions the doctor asked, as well as what tests were performed.
- Obtain a copy of your IME report.
- Review the IME report with your attorney for any information that may be incorrect.
Talk To A Disability Lawyer
Need a lawyer? Start here.
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Can Stress Be A Good Thing
Sometimes, stress can have a positive effect on your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and body reactions. Stress is more likely to result in positive outcomes if you see it as a challenge or something you can strive to overcome. It can help motivate you to work hard. Stress can also lead to positive effects if you respond with healthy behaviours that improve your situation. You can experience the positive effects of stress even in the face of some negative effects.
Denying That You’re Stressed
“In our society where productivity is glorified, people are very likely to deny that they are overwhelmed and stressed,” Griffin says. But that can be problematic, as it leaves little room for self-care.
Griffin says it’s not only OK to take a break, but healthy to do so. The best thing to do is take a deep breath, admit that you’re too stressed, and take a step back for a while so that you can decompress.
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How Not To Answer How Do You Handle Stress
Stress? Never experienced it.
As we said, an interviewer wants to hire someone they know will be reliable when things get tough but playing the emotionless robot card isnt going to win you any points.
Besides, everyone experiences stress, so saying you dont just means youre lying and nobody wants to hire a liar.
Stress just motivates me to work harder.
While this might seem like the right answer, its not. Hiring someone who is convinced they need to solve every problem themselves means they might not realize at some point that their problem is too big to handle alone.
A lone wolf employee might end up waiting too long to bring in additional help resulting in a problem that could have been solved much earlier and cheaper blowing up into something much bigger and much more expensive.
I remove myself from the situation, take time to look at it from all angles, and then attack whatever is causing me stress in the most efficient way.
Another sounds like it should be rightbut its not! answer.
In this case, youre telling the hiring manager that when things get toughyou leave. And yes, we know you said you come back after youve formulated your plan of attack, but stillwe cant get past the part where you walk away for an unknown amount of time.
Dude, I dont know about you, but I like to unwind by grabbing a beer and just feeling the mellow wash over me after work.
All were going to say istheres a thing called oversharing.
Why Does Stress Make Me Feel So Awful
Your body is designed to react to stress in ways that protect you from threats, such as predators. Although facing life-threatening predators is not common today, you do have many daily demands, such as paying bills, working, and taking care of family. Your body treats these demands as threats and the fight-flight-freeze response is activated in your body. At times, stress can have a negative effect on the basic dimensions of mental health . Stress may affect your health if you use unhealthy behaviours to cope. The negative effects of stress on your wellness can become a source of stress in and of themselves. Just talk to anyone who isnt sleeping well due to stress! For more information about the dimensions of mental health that can be influenced by stress, see Wellness Module 1: Mental Health Matters at www.heretohelp.bc.ca.
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Other Helpful Things To Keep In Mind
Working With Your Doctor
When Social Security reviews your adult function form, they may look to see that your doctors notes say similar things to what you have written on this. It will help a lot if you are always be totally honest with your doctor about all your symptoms and limitations. Some people feel shy or embarrassed and downplay their symptoms, which can cause problems for their disability case: How to Stop Hiding From Your Doctor
Get To Know Your Disability Examiner
Your forms should include the name and contact information for your Disability Examiner. This is extremely helpful information! This is the person who collects materials and helps make a decision about your case. Now that you know who your examiner is, it may be helpful to get in touch: How to Stay in Touch with Your Disability Examiner
Exception: If you are appealing and getting ready for a hearing, you wont have a disability examiner, the form will just go to the judge.
Whenever sending anything, its always a good idea to contact the person handling your case and make sure that it was received and placed in your file.
Next up, they may send a similar form to your contact person to answer questions about you. Heres how to handle an Adult Function Third Party Report
Be Honest And Don’t Exaggerate
The most important way to answer an ALJ’s question is with honesty. Some claimants feel that if they make their symptoms sound worse than they really are, they will have a better chance at winning their claim. However, exaggerating your disability usually has the opposite affect. Remember that ALJs hear hundreds of cases a year. They are well trained in recognizing when a claimant is magnifying the truth. If the ALJ believes you are exaggerating your symptoms, you will lose credibility with the ALJ, and if an ALJ doesn’t believe you, you will likely lose your claim for disability benefits.
For example, if the ALJ asks you to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten on an average day, it would be unwise to answer that your daily pain is at a ten. Daily pain that’s a five, six, or seven if more believable. However, if there are times when your pain escalates, you should state this but provide an explanation as to what worsens your symptoms . Also, when describing your symptoms or pain, avoid phrases like “all the time,” “always,” “every day,” or “constantly” unless they are absolutely accurate.
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How Do You Handle Stress
When you apply for a job, you will most likely be asked the classic question: how do you handle stress. When you give an answer, it is best to give a positive reply. If you insinuate that you are not good at dealing with pressure, then there is a likelihood that the interviewer will believe that you are not capable of handling the job.
Disability Caused By Anxiety Disorder
First, let’s look at how the SSA evaluates the severity of anxiety disorders. Before it pays benefits, the SSA requires a mental disorder to be so severe that it disrupts your life to a point where you become unable to work at any type of job . In addition to fitting within a specific diagnosis below , your anxiety disorder must cause severe limitations in the following areas:
- understanding and remembering instructions and learning new things
- interacting with others appropriately
- concentrating and persisting to complete tasks, and/or
- managing oneself
Alternatively, you might be able to qualify without having symptoms of the above limitations if your anxiety has improved with medication or psychosocial support, but your recovery is tenuous and you could experience a setback if you go back to work. To qualify under this alternative, your anxiety must be medically documented as having lasted at least two years, and you must have minimal capacity to adjust to changes in your environment or an increase in mental demands.
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