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Avoid These Mistakes When Applying for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits

Common Mistakes when Applying for Social Security - Glen Cook Social Security Atty

If you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits in the near future, you might be disheartened by a common statistic: about 2/3 of all first-time Social Security Disability applicants are denied benefits. The Social Security Administration has some very specific criteria to determine who is approved after the first application and who must move on to the appeals process.

Filling out your Social Security Disability benefits application can be overwhelming, and simple errors could result in your benefits being denied. Here are a few of the most common errors that applicants make that result in their Social Security Disability benefits being denied.

Not Understanding How the Application Process Works

Many people mistakenly believe that if they are having trouble working, all they need to do to obtain Social Security Disability benefits is to fill out a form, send it off, and wait for their monthly check to arrive. In reality, the Social Security Administration has specific criteria that you must meet in order to qualify for benefits.

For example, in 2018 you cannot earn more than $1,180 a month if you are disabled and no more than $1,970 per month if you are blind. Also, if you’ve worked in a specific field for many years, such as construction, you may need to prove that you are not qualified to work in another field, depending on your age.

The Social Security Administration also has an extensive list of disabilities that qualify for benefits. To receive benefits, it must be expected you will suffer from one or more of these disabilities for at least 12 months. Here are a few disabling conditions and impairments that are on the Social Security Administration’s list:

  • Cardiovascular impairments. Conditions include chronic heart failure, aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, and ischemic heart disease.
  • Digestive system impairments. Conditions include short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease.
  • Immune system impairments. Conditions include HIV, lupus, systemic sclerosis, and polymyositis.
  • Mental health disorders. Conditions include depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism.
  • Neurological impairments. Conditions include epilepsy, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy.

These are only a handful of the conditions on the Social Security Administration’s list. To learn more, contact the Social Security Administration or your attorney.

Making Errors on the Application

Another common mistake applicants make is completely avoidable: filling out the application incorrectly. In some cases, the mistake could be something as minor as forgetting to sign the application or overlooking part or all of a section. Often, the Social Security Administration will contact you to fix the error. However, if you don’t respond to the letter and fill out the application correctly, your benefits will be denied.

The best way to prevent mistakes is to carefully fill out your application or ask for assistance. An attorney will help guide you through the process to ensure the application is filled out correctly.

Not Collecting Enough Medical Evidence

Social Security is not interested in obtaining all of your medical records, often only obtaining records for just a limited period before the date you became unable to work. This can lead to them ignoring important diagnoses, or impairments which progress in severity over a period of time. An attorney can help make sure all of your records are submitted for the hearing on your case.

Not Specifying How Your Disability Impacts Your Ability to Work

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration won’t take your word that you can no longer handle the rigors of your current position or that you aren’t qualified to do other work. That’s why you must provide several details about how your disability impacts your ability to work in your field. For example, if you were a nurse, provide specifics about your everyday activities at work. These activities might include prolonged standing, heavy lifting, public contact, or an ability to handle complex instructions.

Additionally, provide information about your job skills, and why you are not suited to work in another field. For instance, if you worked in the medical field for several decades, you won’t have the skill set necessary to work in a different field without additional training. It is important to understand the Social Security regulations regarding age and your past relevant work experience. An experienced Social Security attorney will know these regulations.

From making minor errors on the application itself to failing to provide enough evidence to support your claim, people make several mistakes when filling out their Social Security Disability application. If you have any further questions about the application and appeals process or if you require representation, contact Glen Cook Social Security Attorney.