If you have a long-term disability that prevents you from working, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can help you make ends meet. Unfortunately, obtaining SSDI benefits can be a lengthy and complicated process. Roughly two-thirds of applicants have their claims denied, often due to preventable and correctable errors. Here are some of the most common mistakes that can hurt your SSDI claim—and how working with a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security disability attorney can help you avoid them.
Filing Incomplete or Incorrect Information
Your application should include extensive medical documentation of your disability, as well as how it affects your ability to hold a job and achieve substantial gainful employment (SGA). Additionally, all the information provided in your application should be correct—including phone numbers and spellings of names and prescriptions. An attorney can work with you and your treating physician to obtain the necessary documentation, as well as review your application for errors.
Failing to Follow Your Doctor's Treatment Plan
Following your doctor's treatment is extremely important, as failing to do so can cast doubt on the severity of your condition. Specifically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny your application for SSDI benefits if it's believed that the prescribed treatment you failed to follow would have restored your ability to work.
Filing a New Application Instead of an Appeal
After learning that their application for SSDI benefits was denied, many applicants opt to file a new application rather than simply appealing the denial. However, there are a lot of reasons why this is counterproductive. For example, if you haven't included any new documentation or corrected the errors in your original application, it will likely be denied on the same grounds. Also, your filing date is used to calculate back payment, so changing this to a later date could cost you much-needed benefits.
Missing Vital Deadlines
You'll encounter a number of strict deadlines during the SSDI application and appeal process. Failing to respond to a request for information in a timely manner during the application process can result in a denial, while failing to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving a denial letter may force you to start the application process all over again.
Applying Without an Attorney
The SSDI application process is complicated and rife with potential pitfalls. Just hiring an attorney to represent you can increase your chances for approval by showing the SSA that you're serious about pursuing benefits and ensuring that your application is correct, complete, and submitted on time.
At O'Connor Law PLLC, our accomplished legal team helps individuals with disabilities fight for—and obtain—the SSDI benefits they deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.