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Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for SSD Benefits

If you have become disabled and are considering applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is important you are aware of the mistakes to avoid. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) process for reviewing and approving SSD benefit application is highly technical and complex. Approvals, particularly those of first-time applicants, are unfortunately quite rare.

You will need to not only show evidence proving your eligibility for such benefits, but you will also need to do everything you can to make sure your application does not have any mistakes, omitted data or errors. Some of the most common mistakes you will want to avoid when applying for SSD benefits include:

Failing to Complete All Forms and Questionnaires

The SSA requires applicants to fill out a number of forms and questionnaires as part of the application process. Neglecting to complete any of this paperwork, or brushing off questions you feel you may have already answered is a mistake. If the SSA requests information, you want to provide it in detail and according to the exact specifications.

Providing Incomplete or Inadequate Medical Documentation

An individual must be completely disabled to be eligible for SSD benefits. If your illness or impairment is on the SSA’s list of disabling medical conditions, you will be able to apply for SSD benefits. Even if your condition is not on the list, if it is determined to be of equal or similar severity to a listed medical condition, you may still be able to submit an application.

Complete medical documentation is required as part of your application. Failure to provide detailed evidence of your condition, from a respectable source, will likely lead to a denial of benefits. Licensed physicians, certified psychologists, licensed optometrists, licensed podiatrists and qualified speech-language pathologists are all viable sources.

Documentation must include:

  • Medical history
  • Clinical findings (from physical or mental exams)
  • Laboratory results
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Prognosis

A statement from one of these sources must also be included detailing your physical and mental capabilities and functional limitations. The SSA wants to know exactly what you are still able to do, despite your impairment. This statement will provide the SSA with a clear insight into how your disability affects your day-to-day life.

If you suffer from any other significant physical or mental impairments, be sure to include these in your medical documentation. While the impairment you have may not be eligible per the SSA criteria, it may still prevent you from being gainfully employed and be a contributing factor in your current application.

Neglecting to File An Appeal Within 60 Days of Your Denial

Because the SSA initially denies most SSD benefit claims, applicants will usually have to appeal the SSA’s decision. The SSA’s appeal process has very strict deadlines. If you want to have any chance of obtaining benefits after failing to get an allowance for benefits, you will need to meet the legal timeline or lose the opportunity to appeal. Work with a skilled attorney so you can expedite the process and get your appeal properly filed within the 60-day deadline.

Failing to Properly Prepare for Your Disability Hearing

Obtaining updated medical records, getting a more complete statement from your doctor or other qualified specialist, and conducting a thorough review of your case file are advised before attending your disability hearing in front of an Administration Law Judge (ALJ). Taking the time to look for mistakes and correct any missing or incomplete information will help you increase the chances of an approval.

Continuing to Work or Collect Unemployment Benefits

Qualifying individuals can seek SSD benefits, as long as their monthly income does not exceed $1,070. While some people may believe that continuing to work and bringing in a part-time income, or collecting unemployment benefits, will not affect a SDD application, it might. If you are able to work, or able to collect unemployment benefits, then it is likely you are capable of maintaining gainful employment.

Obtain Professional Legal Representation

If your illness or injury makes you eligible to seek SSD benefits, please contact one of the skilled attorneys at our Detroit firm right away. Our attorneys have almost half a century of combined legal experience. Our entire practice is dedicated to providing Social Security Disability claimants with the counsel and assistance they require. Whether you have questions or need help with any aspect of the application process, we are here for you. Call us to schedule your free consultation today.



J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

19991 Hall Road, Suite 202
Macomb, MI 48044
Phone: 586-977-8100
Fax: 586-977-8444

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