Top Mistakes When Filing for Social Security Disability
Have you recently filed for disability and were denied Social Security benefits? It’s true that many people are denied disability after submitting an application for the first time. In fact, it occurs so frequently that going through the appeal process of a disability denial is usually required to win any disability benefits at all. However, many claims are denied because of the lack of information provided, explaining in full detail the severity of a person’s disabled condition.
Let’s face it though. There’s no quick and easy way to file for social security disability without going through a lengthy process and potentially face the high probability of being denied. In the following article, The Advocates will explain the ins and outs of Social Security Disability, the most common mistakes made when filing for disability, and how our own Social Security Disability attorneys can help you.
What are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is provided to individuals who can no longer perform a “substantial” amount of work due to a physical or mental illness that will likely last longer than 12 months. According to Social Security, a “substantial” amount of work is defined as making at least $1,260 each month before taxes (or $2,110 per month for people who are blind) as of 2020.
Once you go through the application process and submit all the necessary paperwork and are approved, then the Social Security Administration will provide monthly benefits to you and your household, such as income supplements, back payments, medical care, and family benefits.
Social Security Disability Benefits Defined
- Monthly Payments: any income supplements are determined by a person’s employment history and the amount of taxes paid to the Social Security system each year.
- Back Payments: these benefits, which are also known as lump-sum payments, are given to claimants from the time you file your disability application, as well as 12 months retroactive to that date.
- Medical Benefits: you will receive Medicare benefits 2 years from the date you are deemed eligible for Social Security Disability benefits; this does mean 2 years after the date you are approved for benefits.
- Family Benefits: your spouse or minor or any disabled children in your immediate family may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits as dependents.
For more information about SSDI benefits, please see the disability benefits page on the Social Security office’s website.
Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability?
To qualify for Social Security disability, there are two general requirements you must meet. First, you must have worked jobs that were covered by Social Security. Then you must provide proof of a medical condition that meets the Social Security’s Disability criteria. Below are several examples of medical conditions, including both physical and mental, that automatically qualify a person for SSDI:
- Cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure
- Musculoskeletal issues, such as neck or back injuries
- Senses and speech problems, such a loss of hearing or sight
- Mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s or epilepsy
The list above only includes but a few of the impairments noted in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing manual (also referred to as the blue book).
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?
There are a few things you should know about filing for SSDI. You can complete your application online at the Social Security Association site or by calling them at 1-800-772-1213. You can also visit your local Social Security office, in which you will not need an appointment. If you do call and schedule an appointment with a local office, you may save yourself a wait time for when you get there.
You must be able to provide documents to show you are eligible, such as your birth certificate, W-2 form(s), an Adult Disability Report, and be able to answer any questions the Social Security office asks. Keep in mind that compiling all the necessary documents and medical information to determine your eligibility can be a long, tedious process. You should consider hiring a social security disability lawyer so that you don’t make any mistakes and are approved as soon as possible.
What are the Most Common Mistakes of Filing for Social Security Disability?
Did you know that more than 2 million people file for disability benefits each year in the U.S? Unfortunately, nearly 70% of people who apply for disability are denied benefits at the first stage of the application process. Such a high percentage of denied applications is due to filing mistakes on the applicant’s part.
In order to increase the chances of getting your disability application approved, it’s important to understand the mistakes people make which lead to their applications denied. Here are the 5 most common mistakes applicants make when filing for disability:
#1: Applying for Disability While Still Working
Even though there are no specific rules against applying for disability while working, the chances of your social security claim being approved while still being employed are slim. When applying for a disability claim, you are essentially requesting for government assistance because of the inability to perform substantial work activity.
If you are still working and earning an income when filing for disability, Social Security often sees this as contradicting your need for their assistance. To increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits, only apply once you are no longer employed.
#2: Filing for SSD Benefits Too Soon
While it may seem proactive to apply for SSDI as soon as your condition begins, it’s true that applying for disability too early may disqualify you from receiving benefits. The reason for this is because disabling conditions must be expected to last for 12 months or longer in order to be approved by Social Security.
If you apply for benefits too early, it will be much more difficult to prove that you have sustained a long-term or permanent disability. In fact, Social Security’s medical examiner will likely assume your condition will improve before needing disability benefits – therefore, denying your claim. Be sure to consult with your medical provider first and determine that your condition will last for 1 year or more.
#3: Using the Consultative Exam as Medical Proof
One of the most common mistakes people make when filing for SSDI is applying without sufficient enough medical evidence to support a disability claim. Many disability applicants choose to simply rely on the consultative exam, which is a required medical examination ordered by the Social Security Administration when you first apply for benefits.
Unfortunately, there is a general assumption that this exam provides enough medical evidence proving a disabled condition. But the fact of the matter is that the exam does quite the opposite. The only time you should ever rely on the consultative exam is to use it in conjunction with any supporting evidence you’ve already received from your medical provider. Make sure you speak with your doctor so they can help provide sufficient evidence to support your disability claim.
#4: Refraining from Getting Prescribed Treatments
In some instances, Social Security applicants refuse to receive any medical treatment at all, assuming the treatment will negatively impact their disabled condition and prevent them from receiving the benefits they need.
Refusing medical treatment is actually more detrimental to your application status than if you decided to seek out medical treatment for your condition. The reason for this is that the Social Security medical examiner will review your treatment history and look to see how you responded to prescribed treatment from your doctor.
If you did not follow up with any of the recommended treatment, you may be denied disability benefits based on this fact alone.
#5: Fighting Your Appeal Without Legal Representation
The sad truth about applying for social security disability benefits is that more than 50% of disability applicants are denied the first time they apply for benefits. If your application gets denied, you will want to hire a social security disability lawyer to represent you in the appeal process. One of the biggest reasons people shy away from hiring an attorney is out of fear they cannot afford one.
It’s important to understand that social security disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are only paid a percentage of the back pay you receive from Social Security. You will not have to pay anything up front. Having an attorney on your side will drastically increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits during the appeal process.
When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you were recently denied disability benefits, you will want to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer to represent your legal claim. Here at The Advocates, we accept disability clients from all over the entire United States. We have offices located in Utah, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming but accept clients from all 50 states.
Our role as Advocates is to work with our clients every step of the way until you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses. Your recovery is always our top priority. Contact a Social Security Attorney with The Advocates today! Don’t wait. You can call us at 1-888-565-5277 for a free consultation or use our live chat feature on our homepage to speak with an SSD attorney immediately. You deserve an Advocate.