4 Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are designed to help you if you have a long-term disability. The process takes a lot of work, so mistakes are easy to make. If you are going to file a disability claim, check out these four mistakes you need to avoid.
Waiting a Year to File a Claim
To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to be able to prove that your disability is long-term, which means it will prevent you from working for at least one full year. Many people assume this means they have to be disabled and unable to work for a year before they can actually file for disability benefits, but that isn't the case. You just have to show proof that you will be disabled for at least a year.
Of course, if you apply for Social Security Disability benefits too soon, you may get denied. Depending on your disability, it may be difficult to prove that you are going to be disabled for a full year or more. If you wait a few months, however, you have more time to gather addiction documentation that supports your long-term disability claim.
Not Going to the Doctor for Treatment
If you aren't seeing a doctor for your disability, you probably aren't going to get Social Security benefits. For starters, if the condition isn't severe enough for you to seek treatment then the Social Security department is going to assume it isn't severe enough to prevent you from working. Another reason the Social Security department wants you to see a doctor is because there may be a treatment that can improve the condition enough to allow you to work again.
When you do see your doctor, make sure to have open channels of clear communication regarding your disability. Even if your doctor agrees you have a long-term disability, they may not be very helpful when you actually need them. Your doctor's office will need to provide medical records, and your doctor will need to complete a long RFC form, which takes time, and doctors are busy. If your doctor doesn't have enough time or consideration to help you, find a new doctor.
Earning too Much Money
You can actually earn some money and still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but you can't earn much. The limit is $1,090 per month, so you can continue working while receiving disability, but you cannot exceed $1,090. If, however, if you require a lot of accommodations to help you work, the Social Security department may allow you to earn more than the maximum and still award benefits.
The Social Security department, however, also takes notice of how many hours you are able to work in a given week. If, for example, you are able to work 25 hours a week, they may decide you are not disabled. This can happen even if you don't make more than $1,090. There are some disabilities that are exempt from this, such as statutory blindness, ALS and organ transplant.
Choosing to File a New Claim if Yours Is Denied
When you file your disability claim, there's a good chance that your initial claim will be denied. Many people think this is because Social Security automatically denies every claim so they have to appeal. This is false, but about 70 percent of disability claims are denied on the first application because they are missing necessary documentation that proves the disability.
If your claim gets denied, it may seem like a good idea to file a new claim with added documentation, but that's just wasting your time. Your best bet is to file an appeal on the original rejection. Your chances of having your claim approved with an appeal is significantly higher than if you chose to file a new claim. If you do need to appeal, hire a lawyer to help you with the process.
Don't waste your time by making easy-to-avoid mistakes. If you are ready to start the Social Security Disability process, contact a lawyer (like Todd East Attorney at Law) in your area today.