To obtain Social Security Disability benefits, you need to have a qualifying illness or injury. Just having a serious illness or impairment isn’t enough to entitle you to benefits. Instead, you will need to demonstrate that your condition, its side effects or complications, make it impossible for you to work.

It isn’t always easy to get Social Security Disability benefits. Most initial claims are denied. Sometimes this is because there isn’t enough supporting evidence of the illness or injury’s disability effects. Other times, it’s simple errors on a form that make it impossible for the agency to approve the claim.

How can you prove that your health condition is truly disabling?

It is important to show that your injury or illness makes it impossible to work. You will need to collect evidence, such as photographs or videos, medical diagnoses and documentation from your medical provider or providers. You need to show that you can’t do the work you did before suffering from this disability. You’ll have to prove that you can’t do new work as a result of the disability. Additionally, you will need to show that this disability is going to last at least one year or that it is expected to result in death.

If you are going to turn in medical documents, remember that the doctors you get advice from matter. A specialist’s documentation may be weighed more heavily than a naturopath’s, for example. That is something to keep in mind as you prepare your documentation.