When approved for disability, applicants often receive a lump sum of “back pay,” and then get monthly benefits through automatic payments moving forward. Benefits through the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability programs can take the pressure off of individuals and families that are faced with serious medical concerns and the financial worries that come with them.
Avoiding Common Social Security Application Mistakes
A successful application for disability not only requires you meet all eligibility rules, but that you additionally avoid common mistakes that can delay your claim or lead to a denial. Here are just a few of the avoidable stumbling blocks applicants often face when applying:
The SSA requests a great deal of information from applicants, including details on education, employment, and medical history. If you fail to answer questions, it can delay the processing of your claim and may even lead to a denial of benefits in some cases.
Answer all questions as thoroughly as possible. And if there are questions that aren’t relevant to your claim, indicate that, by writing “not applicable” or “N/A” on the form.
Conflicting Details in Social Security Application
The SSA looks for inconsistencies or conflicting details when they review applications. If you make certain statements and then counter them somewhere else on your application by providing conflicting “facts” or information, it can through a kink into your disability review.
Be sure to review all your forms for answers and details that contradict one another before submitting your application. Provide consistent information by ensuring all your dates, medical diagnoses, and other details match up accurately.
Incorrect Application Information
Medical records are one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in any disability claim. Applicants often fail to double check the spelling of doctors’ names, medical clinic or hospital addresses and phone numbers, or the spelling of prescription medications. These kinds of common errors may prevent the disability examiner that reviews your claim from being able to assess your medical condition accurately or from obtaining essential records that can prove your disability.
If necessary, call around to your former doctors and verify information before submitting your claim. Complete internet searches to double check the addresses, phone numbers, and correct spellings of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers and facilities. Reviewing old medical bills and prescription medication statements is another way to ensure you have all your facts straight before filing your application with the SSA.
Missing Social Security Disability Application Deadlines
Disability examiners often request additional information from applicants via forms sent in the mail. These forms have strict deadlines for completion and return, and the deadlines are pretty short, usually only 10 days from the date of the notice. If you fail to return forms by the deadline, your claim can be denied.
Pay close attention to any notices that arrive in the mail and respond to any requests for additional information in a timely manner. If you’re unable to complete and return forms by the deadline, contact the SSA for an extension before the deadline date arrives. If necessary, contact your disability attorney or advocate to help you negotiate an extension.
Submitting an Application and Getting Help with Your Social Security Claim
The Social Security disability application is complex and will take some time to complete. You can get help with filing your claim by consulting with your doctor(s) and with a disability advocate or attorney. A lawyer or advocate can be an invaluable resource throughout the application, review, and appeal stages, if you are initially denied benefits.