Taped Conversations: How to Talk to Disability Claims Examiners

Talking to a claims examiner with Disability Determination Services is a lot like having a conversation with an insurance adjuster. They’re probably recording the conversation and anything you say can be used against you to deny benefits. In fact, the majority of the information an examiner gathers during an “activities for daily living” or ADL call is for the purpose of denying benefits. How can you navigate this process successfully and come away with the Social Security Disability payments you deserve? Our attorneys break it all down.

What is an ADL Call?

An ADL phone call is a discussion about the physical limitations of your illness or injury as they impact your ability to perform daily life tasks. These range from dressing yourself in the morning to brushing your teeth and preparing meals. In short, everything you need to do in a day to be self-sufficient. A claims examiner uses the information you provide greater context to material submitted by your doctors. Unfortunately, the answers you give the examiner might paint your injury or illness in a less serious light than you intend, and before you know it you’re receiving a denial letter in the mail.

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Creative Questions and Twisting Your Words   

During the call, anything you say to the examiner is evidence. Even offhanded remarks about the trips you’ve taken to the store or your physical activities are admissible in making their determination for benefits eligibility. Casual questions made by the examiner that you might think are not part of the interview are actually framed in a way to encourage you to drop your guard. You might believe the swim you were well enough to take last week is a perfectly innocent thing to comment about, but the examiner sees it as proof that your injury or illness has no measurable impact on your functional capacity.

The examiner might also ask you leading questions to trick you into giving them the type of response they want. It’s a game that they know all the rules to; that you’ve never played before in your life.

How to Get Help and Fight Back

In short, hire an SSD attorney in your area. Having experienced legal advocates on your side removes the fear and anxiety from the application process. You no longer need to take on the examiner or other SSD officials all by yourself. Whereas before you may have felt like the entire weight of the federal government was bearing down on you, now there’s no burden at all.

Your legal team can maintain contact with anyone you’ve mentioned on your application for SSD benefits, so the examiner can’t call them and try to trick them as well. Your benefits can be denied on the testimony of a neighbor or relative who may not have seen you in months or years; long before the effects of your illness or injury impacted your daily life.

Frustrated by the SSD application process? Call our law firm today for a free consultation. We’ll take care of it for you, and we won’t charge you a dime unless we recover benefits on your behalf.