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As I talk with clients and prospective clients, and dig into the evidence supporting a claim for disability benefits, clients sometimes say something like this: “I don’t understand why my claim wasn’t approved, I have a friend/neighbor/acquaintance who got disability benefits right away, and there is nothing wrong with him/her.”

I have heard variations of that statement dozens of times.

Ohio attorney Gretchen Esselstein discussed this issue in her recent post entitled Debunking Common Social Security Disability Myths. Describing myth #4, Ms. Esselstein writes:

My friend, neighbor, relative, etc. was approved, but there is nothing wrong with them. The truth is, an overwhelming number of recipients have severe conditions that you are unable to see or they simply do not tell you about. It is likely that they too had to fight for their benefits. Therefore, your efforts should focus on your claim and what you need to do to be successful on appeal.


I completely agree. Do you think your neighbors and acquaintances realize how debilitating your impairments are? I bet they do not. Likewise, you are unlikely to have a complete picture of another person’s impairments and functional limitations.

Do not be distracted by someone you know who is receiving disability benefits but appears outwardly to be fine. Focus on your own claim, and get the help you need to obtain disability benefits. 


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