The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be daunting, especially if you are already faced with medical and financial difficulties. You have to remember small details, track down medical records, and fill out form after form.
However, being prepared and educated can make the process a lot less frustrating. In order to better your chances of a successful outcome, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid.
Not checking the status of your disability application
If you file for Social Security disability or file an SSI disability claim, you should check the status of your application regularly. How often you should check may be controlled by what level your claim is at (the initial claim level, reconsideration appeal level, or disability hearing level) and whether or not you are represented by a disability attorney.
Whether your paperwork gets lost or your case has been denied, you can avoid missing an important appeal deadline by simply checking the status or your case.
Underestimating or exaggerating the impact of your disability
A major factor when qualifying for Social Security disability insurance is honesty. Anyone applying for SSDI is strongly encouraged to be as truthful and thorough as possible with healthcare providers, attorneys, judges, etc.
Many people underestimate the extent of their disabilities due to a number of factors, one being they’ve endured the condition so long they have learned to cope with it. On the other hand, some want to make their condition seem worse than it is. It’s important to understand how much or how little your condition affects your life in order to appropriately qualify for SSDI.
Not listing all your impairments
Before applying, Social Security will ask you questions like “What are the illnesses, injuries, or conditions that are limiting your ability to work?” It’s obvious to list the most disabling of your conditions (i.e., PTSD, back pain, cancer, arthritis, etc.) but it is equally important to list all the conditions you suffer from (i.e., depression, high blood pressure, etc.)
It is a requirement for Social Security to consider every one of your impairments singly and in combination with each other. Listing each condition will pay off, even if it does not seem as disabling as the others.
Not providing complete medical documentation
At Ladas and Hoopes Law Offices, we tell our clients that the more medical documentation we have, the better we will be able to prove your disability. In most cases, individuals will include medical sources for specialists (orthopedists, neurologists, rheumatologists, etc.) but will fail to include information for their primary care provider or other pieces of medical information that were important at the start of their disability.
Too much information is always better than not enough when it comes to medical documentation. If you are ever doubting whether to include certain information or not, it’s always best to list it anyways. In the long run, it will save you a good chunk of time and money.
Missing appeal deadlines
The Social Security Administration denies a very high percentage of the initial applications. If you are denied at the initial application level, you have 60 days to appeal to the next level. If you miss the deadline, you are required to start the process from the beginning.
Do not miss the deadline. If you have applied on your own and received a denial, it is not too late to choose an SSDI representative to handle the appeal and continue on with your case. By taking this extra step, you can save yourself from starting over and delaying your chance at SSDI benefits.
Not hiring a Social Security disability attorney – or hiring the wrong one
If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, it may be time to hire a lawyer to file your appeal. It is crucial to have sufficient legal representation during the appeal process if you want the best chance for a successful case.
In order to ensure you have an attorney you can easily communicate with and who has your best interest at heart, take time to meet with them and get a feel for how they are going to take action to effectively represent you.
The Social Security Disability process can seem daunting for a variety of reasons, but avoiding common mistakes can help make things easier. If you have had trouble filing a claim or filling out the application properly, call us at 231-744-6218 or visit our website https://ladasandhoopes.com/. With Ladas and Hoopes, you will never have to go through it alone.
Kenneth Hoopes is an attorney with Ladas and Hoopes Law Offices. He has been practicing in Muskegon for over 20 years, specializing in personal injury, Social Security disability, and other areas of law. His commitment to justice has led to several positive outcomes for his clients throughout West Michigan. When he’s not in the office or in court, Ken enjoys spending time with his wife and their two daughters.