Four Mistakes to Avoid When Applying For Disability

Disability is more common as you age, and the long application process for Social Security Disability Benefits can be harder later in life as well. Roughly two-thirds of disability claims are denied. Mistakes, like those listed below, can cause delays of months to years in receiving benefits.

Applying for Disability and Unemployment Benefits

When you apply for Social Security Disability, you claim that you have been unable to do any substantial work for a period of twelve months. When you apply for Unemployment, however, you are claiming that you would be willing to take a job if one were found that was in your skill range. Most experts advise calling the Unemployment Office and having your benefits stopped if you
are approved for Disability.

Claiming Disability While Continuing to Work

If you earn more than the “Substantial Gainful Activity” of $1060 per month, you need to quit or work fewer hours. This applies even if you have a documented mental or physical disability which reduced the amount of money you were able to earn each month. The one possible exception is if, because of your disability, you need devices or aid from individuals to perform your tasks.

Not Checking the Status of Your Claim

It is important to periodically check your claim status. The reason for this is to catch any mistakes so that they may be corrected, or to begin an appeal if you have been denied. Appeals must be filed within 65 days of the denial notice or you have to begin the whole process again. Professionals like Joseph F Brown, MD JD will recommend that you apply or appeal as soon as you can because you may have to wait for an appeal decision for months.

Not Seeing a Doctor or Following His Advice

Since Social Security must take your word for pain, or exhaustion or anxiety, one way they check on claims is making sure claimants have seen a doctor. They also investigate to see if you are following the doctor’s recommendations, including taking prescribed medications. Social Security may decide a claimed illness is not severe enough to warrant disability. If this occurs, and you claimed several conditions, your doctor should fill out a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment to document that the combination of the conditions you claimed is disabling.

You may begin the application online. Afterward, someone will take your information over the phone. The sooner you begin the claims process, the better.