How to apply for benefits

AuthorScott M. Riemer/Jennifer L. Hess
Chapter 4
When preparing a claim for disability benets it is very important
to develop a narrative that eectively establishes your client’s disability.
“Disability” does not mean your client must be conned to a bed or
wheelchair. Rather, disability connotes a functional status in relation to
the functional requirements of an occupation. Insurers will want to know
why your client was able to work yesterday but not today. If your client
has an illness or injury that usually is not disabling, the insurer will want
to know why it is disabling in your client’s case. If your client could do
some activities such as driving, shopping and the like, but cannot do the
“Material Duties” of her job, the insurer will require an explanation why.
Your disability narrative must answer all of these questions and more.
Not only will the insurer want the answers to these questions, but
the judge eventually assigned to your case will as well. If a judge believes
your client is disabled and deserving of benets, she will nd a way to
rule in favor of your client. Conversely, if the judge is not convinced your
client is disabled, she will rule against your client no matter how many
procedural irregularities you establish in your client’s favor.
In setting forth your client’s disability narrative, do not be conned
to the disability application form, which is drafted for the insurer’s ben-
et, not your client’s. e form often gives just two lines to describe the
nature of your client’s disability. Write, “see attached rider” on the form,
and then attach a detailed narrative describing your client’s disability. e
narrative should answer the questions posed above and should describe
the Material Duties of your client’s occupation. We often attach a state-
ment setting forth a typical day at work, focusing on the physicality of

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