Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Social Security Disability

Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Social Security Disability

 

Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Social Security Disability

Filing for Social Security disability benefits can be a complicated and long process. In order to better the chances of your having a successful outcome, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1:    Collecting unemployment while waiting for disability. Some judges see this as a statement that you are “ready, willing and able to work.”

Mistake 2:     Not quitting work when applying for disability. Social Security is very strict about your “ability to work.”

Mistake 3:   Assuming you can’t afford a disability lawyer. We work on a contingency basis so there is no fee until we win your case.

Mistake 4:    Never checking the status of your SSDI or SSI claim. Social Security Administration is a large agency and it is not uncommon for paperwork to slip through the cracks, so you must keep good records.

Mistake 5:    Missing the disability appeal deadline. Be sure to find out the appeal deadlines. It is usually 60 days from the date on the denial notice.

Mistake 6:   Not preparing for a Social Security disability hearing. This process begins when you file an application. You have to tell a consistent story that makes sense and is documented by the medical evidence.

Mistake 7:    Not taking medication as prescribed by your doctor. Even if you have trouble affording medicine, you should always discuss this with your doctor.

Mistake 8:   Not alleging mental conditions which you have on a Social Security disability or SSI disability application. All the elements of your case work together to establish disability.

Mistake 9:   Not seeing a doctor for your medical or emotional problems. It’s all about the evidence. You must have a doctor who can explain your impairments.

Mistake 10:   Thinking you just can’t win. If you believe that you have become disabled, you should file an application for benefits. Don’t get discouraged if you receive a denial. You should appeal it and seek the advice of an attorney.

Mistake 11:   Waiting to file. It can take a long time before you’re awarded benefits due to the appeals process. To shorten your wait time, you should file immediately if you are not working or your earnings dropped below $1,180 per month as of 2018.

Mistake 12:   Not hiring an attorney. A disability attorney can help you strengthen your arguments, meet all deadlines, and use the law to your advantage.

 

Tips For Winning Your Social Security Disability Case

Key To Your Winning Your Social Security Disability Case
Key To Your Winning Your Social Security Disability Case

1. Be ready for your disability application before the process even starts. Interviews with claims representatives at field offices can be intimidating and a little nerve-wracking. Be sure you know what disabilities you are alleging, the date you claim you became disabled, and the names, addresses and phone numbers for all of your doctors and other healthcare providers.

2. Getting your medical records together yourself is likely to help jumpstart your case. You may consider getting your medical records together and submitting them when you apply for disability to avoid the delay that follows when Social Security requests them.

3. Get your pain symptoms on record so that Social Security can take this into consideration. If you have pain, absolutely mention it when you apply and get it included as part of your disability application. Be clear and specific about where you have pain and how it limits you.

4. Never minimize your pain or other symptoms. Describe how your symptoms affect your ability to do normal daily activities. Likewise, do not exaggerate your pain or other limitations.

5. Always list every one of your medical conditions, physical or mental. Disability cases are complex. It is often the combination of conditions which results in a favorable ruling.

6. Symptoms alone are not enough to win. Your medical records must show an objective medical reason for the symptoms you have. If you do not have a doctor or if your doctor is not helping you, you may want to find another doctor.

7. Be sure you tell your doctor all about your situation so that your medical records include details of your limitations. A doctor who does not record observations and has no support for his opinion, is not persuasive. Try to build a strong relationship with your doctor.

8. Strengthen your disability case by providing the details of your work history. Social Security looks at all the jobs you have had in the past 15 years to see if you can do any of them again.

9. Be sure to provide treatment information as far back as you can recall. Make sure to do this at least as far back as you are alleging that your condition, or conditions, began to affect your functioning and cause you to be unable to work.

10. It is important to mention any mental conditions along with the physical impairment you have. Your mental condition may eliminate jobs that require you to stay on task, concentrate, perform complex tasks, remember instructions, etc.

11. Decisional notices are just one of several reasons that you should always tell Social Security your current mailing address. If you move while you are awaiting a decision, you should notify both the disability examiner working on your case and the local Social Security office where you began your claim, as well as your attorney’s office.

12. A Social Security medical examination usually offers little to your case – nonetheless, do not miss an appointment. Remember it is a tool used by the Social Security disability agency to close cases (deny claims) rather than to help you receive benefits. Be sure to tell this doctor the things which you feel make you disabled.

Affleck and Gordon, P.C.
Attorneys and Counselors at Law

AJC Claims Social Security Administration is Reducing Staff

See AJC Article:

http://www.myajc.com/news/national-govt–politics/this-atlanta-woman-lost-her-home-waiting-for-disability/Nd0uGeSLLQD1bSYz6bHBKM/

Recently Chris Joiner wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the Social Security Administration is facing a reduction in staffing at the same time that there are more and more people filing claims for disability benefits. He quoted a Judge as saying that SSA does not act like this is a crisis BUT it IS a CRISIS.
A person who applies for SSA disability benefits today is likely to wait 2 and a half to 3 years for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. Meanwhile that person is not working, is sick or injured, has a hard time seeing a doctor and is relying on friends and family.

We can help. Although we cannot speed up the system, we can help you strengthen your claim. Medical evidence which documents your conditions and the functional problems that you are having is vital to your claim. We will help you develop this evidence.

SSA has Listings of impairments which may support your case. We can help you identify and apply the Listing which describes your condition.
If you are facing foreclosure, utility shut off, eviction or some other situations, we can request that your case be expedited. Social Security puts all the burden on you to establish your case. We can help.

Written by Judy Bloom