Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) can feel a bit intimidating. You are sick or in pain and you are unable to work, and you might feel a bit under pressure to get the application right because you know that the approval rate for SSD is low.
Here is an example of 10 common mistakes that SSD applicants make when they are applying for disability benefits:
- Collecting unemployment benefits while your application is processing
When you collect unemployment benefits while you are waiting for a response to your SSD application, you are sending a mixed message. Social Security Disability benefits provide income for those who are too disabled to work. Collecting unemployment means that you are waiting to find work that fits your education, skills and experience. You are required to seek employment to qualify for unemployment, while you are telling the Social Security Administration that you are unable to work. Generally when you file for unemployment you are also certifying that you are “ready, willing, and able to work” when you are saying the opposite in your application for SSD.
- Continuing to work while you are applying for disability benefits
If you work and generate a full-time income, which the SSA calls substantial gainful activity (SGA), then you are not eligible for SSD benefits.
- Not seeing a doctor
The medical records that your doctor creates when you visit because of your medical condition become a vital part of your SSD claim. The documentation of your visits, test results, and treatments helps the SSA determine your level of disability. Regular medical care is the most important part of winning your SSD case. If you are not receiving regular medical care you are unlikely to be successful in obtaining SSD benefits.
- Not including complete medical documentation with your application
The SSA has strict requirements for the kinds of medical documentation that they want to see to prove your disability. You must include appropriate medical evidence and the results of the required medical tests for your condition as they appear in the SSA’s listing of impairments. Your medical proof must show that your condition has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months or longer or result in death. Your medical proof must show that your condition is indeed disabling to the point where you will be unable to perform any kind of work.
- Failing to follow the doctor’s orders for treatment
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a disease and prescribed treatment for it, the SSA will want to know about how effective those treatments are for you. If you fail to follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor, it may result in the denial of your claim.
- Failing to list all your symptoms on your disability application
You might have other symptoms that are not directly related to the disabling condition that might also contribute to your inability to work. Be sure to mention them on your application so that the SSA can consider those symptoms or conditions.
- Waiting too long to apply for benefits
It can take 90 days or more to get your disability claim approved. When it is approved, you will receive back pay dated from your established disability onset date, but there is a five month waiting period before you can begin to receive monthly benefits once you have been approved. For these and other reasons, you should apply for benefits as soon as possible.
- Failing to provide adequate details of your work history
Your work history details the kind of work you have done, the kinds of tasks you performed and how long you did various types of jobs will help give the Disability Determination Service (DDS) enough information to decide whether your disabilities would prevent you from doing other work that you have done in the past 15 years.
- Failing to meet appeal deadlines
On the first level of appeal you have a 60-day deadline from the date your application was denied to file for reconsideration of your claim. Miss that deadline and you must submit a new application.
- Not working with a Maryland Social Security Disability attorney
This is likely your first time applying for disability benefits. An experienced Maryland SSD attorney has helped hundreds of clients file a claim. They are thoroughly familiar with the process. They know what the SSA wants to see, and they can represent you at every level of appeal should your initial claim be denied.
At Plaxen & Adler, PA, we welcome the opportunity to represent you with your Social Security Disability claim. You are welcome to call us at 410.988.4449 or contact us today.