Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Applying for Disability Benefits

Nov 04, 2013

It’s no secret than applying for Social Security Disability can be a challenging and frustrating endeavor. The Social Security Disability application process is complex to navigate, and delays are common. In order to boost your chances of achieving a successful outcome and to avoid jeopardizing your claim, steer clear of these 10 mistakes people make when applying for disability benefits.

1. Not doing your homework

 There’s a whole lot more to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits than filling out and sending paperwork. If you want to improve your odds of receiving benefits, do your homework. Find out what types of benefits are available to you, learn the criteria for qualifying for those benefits, and get organized before you apply.

 2. Failing to check the status of your claim on a regular basis

 It’s important to check the status of your claim on a regular basis because it speeds your case along and allows you to catch any mistakes. Sometimes, Social Security offices lose paperwork or fail to notify applicants that their claims have been denied. Call your local Social Security office periodically to speak with your claims examiner and get general updates regarding your case.

 3. Collecting unemployment benefits

 If you file for Social Security Disability benefits, you are stating that you have been unable or will be unable to perform substantial work activity for at least 12 months owing to a mental or physical impairment. When you file for unemployment benefits, however, you’re stating that you are ready and available to perform work if you can find an appropriate job. Most Social Security disability lawyers in Columbus, Ohio recommend against collecting unemployment benefits while applying for SSDI benefits because there is a risk that your claim will be denied.

 4. Not taking your prescribed medications

 One of the ways in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates the credibility of your claim is by determining whether you’ve sought treatment for your condition and complied with your doctor’s recommended treatment. If you fail to take your medications as prescribed, the SSA may conclude that your condition isn’t as severe and limiting as you say it is. However, there are a few acceptable reasons for not following a prescribed treatment, such as being unable to afford it or experiencing side effects from the medication that are worse than the symptoms being treated.

 5. Missing the appeals deadline

 Was your SSDI claim denied? You have 60 days from the date you receive your notice of denial to request an appeal. If you fail to request an appeal before this deadline, you will have to start the process from the beginning and file a brand new claim.

 6. Exaggerating your disability

 While you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of your disability or play down its symptoms, don’t try to make your condition appear worse than it really is. Social Security Disability examiners will look for inconsistencies in the information you provide and your doctor’s findings. Honesty is always the best policy.

 7. Doing a substantial amount of work while applying for disability

 If you’re earning more than $1,040 per month, which is considered substantial gainful activity (SGA), you will have to quit your job or work less to be eligible for SSDI benefits. This is true even if you have a documented medical condition that led you to transition from full-time to part-time work and you’re earning substantially less than you did before. If you’re able to work a significant amount of time, the SSA will also take that into account, even if you’re earning less than the SGA amount.

 8. Not receiving continuous and consistent medical treatment

 Although you may be too sick to work, your word alone won’t be enough to qualify you for disability benefits. You have to provide solid medical evidence proving that your medical condition makes it impossible for you to work, and this is only doable if you’ve received continuous and consistent medical treatment for your condition.

 9. Assuming you can handle your case alone

 If your claim is denied, hire a Social Security Disability attorney in Columbus to assist you during the appeals process. Many Social Security Disability attorneys work on contingency, which means that they only get paid if they win your case, so it’s a win-win situation.

 10. Being vague about your employment history

 Disability decisions are based not only on your medical records, but also on your work history, which should thoroughly define the requirements of your previous jobs. Claims examiners will look closely at your work history to determine whether you’d be able to return to a previous job or if your impairment would prevent you from doing so.

 The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be lengthy and complicated, but don’t give up. With proper guidance and legal representation, you can obtain the maximum benefits you deserve. Get in touch with ACML today if you’re looking for a Columbus, Ohio Social Security Disability attorney who can help you make the strongest claim possible.

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