Unfortunately, many of the letters that get written to Social Security by an applicant’s loved ones will not ultimately make a difference on the outcome of their claim. Decision makers at Social Security assume that friends and family members of the applicant have a strong bias, and the majority of letters they receive are not crafted in a way that will persuade them otherwise.

Typically, letters should include your name and Social Security number, as well as the following information from the author:

  • Name
  • Relationship to applicant
  • How long they’ve known the applicant
  • Contact information, including mailing address and phone number

Some judges prefer letters be notarized to confirm authenticity. Before you ask anyone to write a letter on your behalf, consider speaking with your Fremont disability attorney, who will be better able to guide you through the process of obtaining letters—and potentially review completed letters to protect you against any problems that may damage your case.

Who to Ask

Generally, the people to ask are those friends and family members who have the closest contact with you on a daily basis, especially if you rely on them for help with daily tasks such as household chores, getting to and from doctor’s appointments, or grocery shopping. A letter from someone who only sees you occasionally will not be as helpful.

Letters Should:

  • Be two pages or less.
  • Stay on point.
  • Provide as many specific, concrete examples that the author has personally observed describing how the applicant’s limitations impact their day-to-day life.
  • Explain why the applicant needs assistance, in what ways the author has helped him or her, and how frequently help is needed.

Letters Should Not:

  • Make general statements without concrete details, such as “Peter has memory problems.”
  • Diagnose the applicant with a disability, such as “Elizabeth is intellectually handicapped.”
  • Declare that the applicant is unable to work without qualifying it as opinion.
  • Include any examples of behaviors or events that the author hasn’t personally observed.

If you are preparing to apply for Social Security disability benefits, or you are preparing to appeal a denied claim, consider getting a free evaluation from a Fremont disability attorney. Call Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 or email [email protected]. Be sure to request our free and informative booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska