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Your third-party reference and Social Security Disability

When you file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you'll be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your daily activities.

This questionnaire helps the SSD examiner understand more about how your condition affects your ability to function. Essentially, it's your chance to convince the examiner of the severity of your limitations.

However, you may not be the only person asked to describe your limitations in detail. Social Security asks you to provide them with the name of a third-party contact -- a person of your choosing -- who can give the agency a clear perspective of your condition and the effects of your disability on your life. They will also be asked to complete a similar questionnaire about your daily activities.

It is absolutely essential that you choose this person with care. What he or she writes could make or break your case.

Here's what you need to consider when choosing your third-party contact:

1. Who would be willing to do this for you?

Some people simply don't want to be burdened with the responsibility of filling out these kinds of forms. Don't take chances. Make sure that you ask the person you intend to name if he or she is willing to take the time to completely answer all the questions on the form.

2. Does this person really understand your limitations?

How much does he or she know about your condition and your limitations? You won't get a good result unless the person you name has witnessed your struggle up close and has a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do. It's often wise to go over your limitations again with this person -- before he or she completes the form.

3. Is this person capable and responsible?

You need to choose someone with adequate writing skills and organization for this job. It's important that they use descriptive terms and complete each question on the form in its entirety. It's equally important that they respond in a timely manner. A delay can slow down your case or even cause you to be denied!

If you're having trouble winning the benefits you deserve, it might be time to speak to a Social Security Disability attorney about your case.

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