Sustaining a life-changing injury or going through a serious illness can be scary enough, but facing your finances after you aren’t able to work can seem like a nightmare. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to people who qualify for the program.
Unfortunately, not everyone who applies is granted benefits, especially if you make a few missteps during the application. Here are three mistakes to avoid making when you apply for disability and how to improve your chances of success.
- Being Unfamiliar With the Program
Applying for and being granted disability benefits can be a difficult feat, with only about 35% of applications being accepted the first time they are submitted. Many of the mistakes that people make during initial applications involve merely not being familiar with the program, which is why you should do your due diligence before you get started with an application.
Before you start filling out paperwork, go through and read the Social Security Administration’s explanation of the program, including descriptions of disabilities, evidentiary requirements, timelines, and rules. In addition to giving you a clearer idea of what to expect, a deeper understanding of the program will help you to know what kinds of information to avoid on your application.
For example, if you have severe dermatitis that has prevented you from working, reading the disability descriptions would shed light on the fact that the condition needs to have persisted for three months despite receiving treatment. By learning this information, you could offer evidence that you sought treatment and that the condition persisted, improving your chances of a successful application.
- Filing on Your Own
Although the disability benefits have advanced to the point of allowing online applications, it isn’t always a good idea to file on your own even if you feel like you have a firm grasp of the problem.
In addition to being at a higher risk for making mistakes in your wording or checking a few incorrect boxes, simply filing for disability can be a long, stressful, and arduous process that is best handled by seasoned professionals.
Lawyers who specialize in Social Security Disability benefits understand what is involved in the application process and how to increase your chances of successfully filing the first time around. From preparing your initial paperwork to handling appeals, a lawyer makes it easy to focus on improving your quality of life while you learn to live with your disability.
Filing on your own may also draw out the process since it might take you hours, days, or weeks to gather documents, fill out forms, and learn about various aspects of the program. On the other hand, working with a lawyer helps to streamline the entire process.
- Continuing to Work
Many people decide to try to work through the pain even when they are faced with a career-ending disability. Unfortunately, in addition to making it hard to find the time to file for disability, doing something as simple as continuing to work could hurt your chances of successfully collecting disability.
Disability benefits are determined based on the date of your injury and your ability to work in general. If you continue to work, even if you aren’t doing as much as you used to, the SSA can come back and say that you are able to work, which can hurt your claim.
If you are unable to provide for yourself and your family because you are disabled, talk with the professionals at Horn & Kelley, PC, to find out if you could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Although the process can seem daunting, our experienced legal professionals will do everything in our power to make receiving benefits as stress-free as possible.