Mar 8, 2024

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

applying for social security disability

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a complicated process, but it’s a crucial one for those who need it. However, the complicated nature of the process can sometimes lead to errors, causing even deserving applicants to be denied. 

In order to help prevent that from happening to you, here are some mistakes commonly made during this process that you should be aware of and careful to avoid making yourself. 

Applying For Benefits Too Early

In order to qualify for benefits, your disability must be expected to last at least 12 months. That can be hard to prove in certain cases unless significant time has passed, and enough medical records have accumulated to support your claim that your disability is truly long term. 

So make sure to only apply for benefits once your medical documentation supports your claim. 

Not Following Your Medical Treatment Plan 

Few things can make a Social Security examiner (the people who review SSDI applications) take your disability claims less seriously than missing medical appointments. So don’t miss them. 

Some SSDI applicants are worried that getting better too quickly will undermine their disability claims, but having the examiner –  who will absolutely be reviewing your medical records – see that you don’t take your health seriously will undermine them even more. Perhaps even fatally, including prejudicing any possible appeal against you. 

Not Gathering Your Own Medical Evidence

Many SSDI applicants believe that the “consultative exam” provided by the Social Security Administration will be enough evidence to support their disability claims, and so fail to get themselves properly examined by their own doctors. But that’s often not true. 

In most cases, the consultative exam is used in conjunction with the existing applicant medical record in order to establish a disability claim. Without that existing record to back it up, the consultative exam just doesn’t carry enough weight on its own. So make sure you have your medical history well established, and make sure to include those records in your application. 

Filing An SSDI Claim While Working

There’s nothing in the law that says you can’t apply for SSDI benefits while working, but practically, applications from those still receiving a salary or running a business are likely to be rejected. That’s because the crux of every SSDI claim is your contention that you are no longer able to support yourself due to your disability. Working and earning an income contradicts this claim, and makes approval almost impossible. 

In order to avoid the aggravation of a denied claim, make sure to only file your application once you’ve actually stopped working. 

Going It Alone On Appeal

As complicated as applications are, appeals can be even more so; and often the best option, and the one that gives the applicant a better opportunity for success will be to hire an SSDI attorney. 

Some SSDI applicants are scared to hire an attorney because they think they can’t afford one, but Morgan & Morgan SSDI attorneys work entirely on the contingency-fee model. This means that they take no money upfront, and only get paid if your appeal is successful. 

So don’t go it alone. We’re here to help you fight for what you’re entitled to. Contact us today for your free consultation.