Common Communication Barriers for Social Security Applicants

Common Communication Barriers for Social Security Applicants
Common Communication Barriers for Social Security Applicants

Open communication with your medical professional can make a big difference in your social security case.

Tibetan political leader Lobsang Tenzin once said, “Communication will bring understanding and understanding will cause harmonious mutual relationships which can establish peace and stability.”

It’s safe to assume Tenzin wasn’t talking about your Social Security Disability claim when he said this, but his advice is applicable to pursuing a Social Security claim. Many disability claims fail due to a lack of communication. There are two main areas in which Social Security claimants fail to communicate:

1) Communication Issues with Medical Professionals

Medical evidence is one of the most crucial parts of any case. In fact, medical evidence is what will prove your disability. Medical evidence is created when you visit a medical professional.

He or she is able to document your condition(s) and make medical decisions based on any number of tests, lab results, and referrals.

However, none of this can happen if you don’t effectively explain your symptoms to your doctor. Many people don’t like going to the doctor, which can cause stress that results in a failure to properly communicate their symptoms. It’s referred to as communication apprehension.

According to James McCroskey, communication apprehension is the broad term that refers to an individual’s “fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.” At its heart, communication apprehension is a psychological response to the evaluation.

At our core, we fear the doctor because we associate doctors and hospitals with death. We may withhold information from a doctor because we subconsciously believe nothing bad will happen to us if we don’t tell them what’s wrong.

Sometimes people are embarrassed to tell a medical professional about their conditions. That’s understandable, but try to remember that doctors, nurses, and medical professional have seen and heard it all. There are not many things you can tell them they haven’t seen or heard before.

2) Communication Issues with Legal Professionals

While communication apprehension is a big problem for medical professionals, attorneys can experience the same issue with their clients.

Most people who haven’t practiced law or worked in a professional setting have a predetermined image of attorneys, developed after years of popular daytime television shows and crude caricatures who were made famous by their 15 minutes of fame.

You may be surprised to learn that attorneys are people just like any others. At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, our clients are comfortable with us because we know how complicated the process is, and we make sure to explain it every step of the way.


We work hard to gain each client’s trust. We want them to be open with us so we can help them get the benefits they deserve. The only thing worse than communication apprehension is no communication at all.

A disability claim takes a long time— it often takes more than 2 years for a hearing to be scheduled. So, when that hearing is finally scheduled, we need to prepare. This includes scheduling pre-hearings, gathering updated medical records, and making sure you’re in attendance. We can’t do any of that if we can’t get in touch with you.

On some occasions, clients have lost cases because they weren’t aware that they needed to attend a hearing. Our firm does make every effort possible to contact our clients when we need to speak with them.

We call, send emails, send letters, and even search social media sites to make contact with our clients. To prevent this issue, make sure you update your phone number and address with your attorney if you move or change phone numbers.

Don’t let a lack of communication impact your case. We make it easy for our clients to stay in touch with us. You can call us, send an email, leave a message with our answering service after hours, report updates via our websites, and you can even message our Facebook page.

We’ve proven that we will do whatever it takes to stay in contact with our clients. Now it’s time to learn what else can do to help you get the benefits you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a more convenient time.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law