If you’ve recently been seriously injured, are suffering from a devastating illness, or cannot work for any other number of reasons, you might be considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Unfortunately, there are several common myths and misconceptions you’ve probably heard about the application process and your odds of approval that could keep you from getting the benefits you’re entitled to. Here are a few of the most common and pervasive myths about Social Security Disability benefits.
All I Need Is a Doctor’s Note to Apply for Benefits
Your doctor will play a huge role in completing and filing your initial application. It’s your doctor’s duty to send all your medical records to the Social Security Administration and provide a statement that details any disabilities and limitations that would make it difficult for you to support yourself.
You may believe that handing over the duty of supplying your records and writing a note is all you will need to qualify for disability. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Many times, the information provided by your physician won’t be enough for the Social Security Administration to declare you legally disabled. Instead, work with your doctor to ensure you provide a complete and accurate statement about your disability.
Create a thorough list of all your disabilities, illnesses, and limitations and how they impact your everyday life. For example, if you are suffering from severe asthma, write down specific ways the illness impacts your life and ability to work.
Letting your doctor know how your daily life and work life are impacted by your limitations will help him or her create a more accurate and compelling statement for your application.
The Entire Process Will Only Take A few Weeks
You’ve filled out your application and were assured it wouldn’t take any longer than 120 days to receive your approval letter. Unfortunately, only a handful of applicants are approved after their first application. The majority are denied and must appeal this decision. The application process actually takes 4-6 months for decision.
The appeals process begins after your first denial letter. You must file a request for reconsideration.
After this paperwork is filed, you must wait an additional 4-6 months to receive an answer. In cases where you are denied a second time, you must ask for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. It’s the judge’s job to then examine your case and determine if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. It usually takes a minimum of 12 months to get a date for your hearing.
In some cases, the entire application and approval process can take several months or even years, which is why the Social Security Administration usually provides retroactive benefits that begin 5 full months from the date SSA says you became disabled.
I Don’t Need a Lawyer’s Help
Finally, one of the biggest myths is that you don’t need a lawyer’s help or that it’s too expensive to hire legal representation. An experienced attorney will help you through every step of the application process, including the initial filing. Many Social Security Disability applications are denied simply because the applicant didn’t provide sufficient information or forgot to sign the paperwork.
If you are denied, your attorney can help you understand why you didn’t receive benefits and guide you through every step of the appeals process, including going before an Administrative Law Judge. Remember, your attorney has dealt with clients in the past who were initially denied benefits, and knows how to navigate the system and get results.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Don’t go through the process alone and instead, look to the professionals at Horn and Kelley, P.C. to give you the assistance you need during this complicated process.