People in California and elsewhere who suffer from injuries or medical conditions that prevent them from working might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In order to be approved for SSDI, people must be able to convince the disability examiners that their conditions place severe limitations on their ability to perform work.

Social Security disability examiners review the medical records that applicants submit to determine whether their conditions prevent them from doing the tasks required by their former jobs or from performing different jobs. Unfortunately, information about how conditions limit the patients is usually not included in their medical records. The medical records may include information about the patients’ treatment, diagnoses, medications and complaints, but doctors generally do not document the effects that the conditions have on their patients’ abilities to carry out the activities of daily life.

Applicants for Social Security disability benefits can ask their doctors to write statements about how their conditions limit their abilities to perform the types of work required by their jobs. These letters can be helpful because they can provide the Social Security Administration with more insight into whether an applicant is disabled and should be approved for SSDI benefits. However, medical source letters generally do not come into play until a disability claim has been denied and has progressed to the hearing level.

People who are disabled and are no longer able to work may want to consult with experienced SSDI attorneys about their applications. A lawyer may help his or her clients gather the types of evidence that may make it likelier that their applications will be approved. If a client receives a denial from the Social Security Administration, an attorney may file an appeal on his or her client’s behalf and assist that person with adding information to his or her claim file to support why the application should be approved.