Many people would like to believe that the disability application process is simple, straightforward and hassle-free. In some cases it is, but in most cases the process is long, drawn-out and frustrating. More than a few Social Security Disability horror stories abound. Why do things go so wrong with disability claims? What causes some people to skate through the qualification process while others must go through appeal after appeal to get the benefits they are rightfully entitled to? There is something to be learned from the many Social Security Disability horror stories we hear. By learning from the mistakes and stories of others, you can avoid some of the common pitfalls of the disability claim process.
Counting Chickens Before They Hatch
One Social Security Disability claimant ended up losing his home and car due to the fact that he was so sure that his claim for benefits would be approved that he did not plan financially for the long appeal process. By the time his benefits were denied, he was bankrupt.
Do not assume that you are going to receive Social Security Disability benefits within a few short months of submitting your application. It can take many months or even years for your claim to be approved. If you go and spend all of your savings under the assumption that you will begin receiving payments in the next three or four months, you may wake up to an unpleasant surprise.
Not Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney, or Hiring the Wrong One
An applicant who applied for Social Security Disability benefits due to a back injury was denied benefits at the initial stage of the application process. She went on to file an appeal, but did not hire an attorney when doing so. Unfortunately her appeal was also denied. She decided to hire an attorney in the next step of the appeal process, but the attorney she hired did not communicate with her effectively and barely seemed to understand the details of her case. As a result, her claim was denied once again.
If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, hire a lawyer to file your appeal. It is crucial to have adequate legal representation during the appeal process if you want the best chances of winning. With that being said, it is important to note that not all attorneys are created equal. You should interview a few Social Security Disability attorneys before deciding which one you want to work with. If an attorney or his or her staff cannot communicate with you effectively, the chances of that attorney being able to effectively represent you during your appeal are slim to none.
When considering which attorney to hire for your Social Security Disability claim it is also important to remember that you are not only hiring the attorney who will be representing your case – you are also hiring his or her staff. One disability applicant called to schedule an appointment with an attorney and was greeted by a very rude receptionist on the other line. She decided to overlook this fact in the hope that the attorney would be more pleasant and able to handle her case effectively. While the attorney was an amiable gentleman, the woman ran into problems when having to deal with his staff. Her calls would go unanswered because the receptionist would not give messages to the attorney and as a result it caused complications with her disability claim.
If you are not completely satisfied with every single employee you meet at the attorney office you visit, look for another attorney. The last thing you want is for your Social Security Disability case to be thrown out the window due to the inability of the staff to function effectively.
Avoiding the Continuing Disability Review Requirements
Many people think that the Social Security Administration cannot revoke disability payments unless there is solid proof that a condition is no longer as severe as it was when they were approved for disability payments. This is not necessarily the case.
One Social Security Disability recipient thought it was fine to ignore the Continuing Disability Review paperwork that he was receiving in the mail. After all, he figured if he didn't reply to the requests the SSA could not prove that his disability had improved. The fact of the matter is that the man had forfeited his rights to disability benefits by not cooperating with the Continuing Disability Review requests.
If you are on Social Security Disability and you are required to undergo a Continuing Disability Review, make sure you follow through with the process. If you do not, your Social Security Disability benefits may be revoked.
A Word to the Wise
The Social Security Disability process can be a nightmare for many reasons, but avoiding common mistakes can help you avoid experiencing a horror story of your own. Keep the above advice in mind when filing your disability application if you wish to avoid the common mistakes that can often lead to Social Security Disability nightmares.