According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than two million disability claims were filed in 2018. However, approximately 65% of all disability claims are initially denied each year. Many people who are denied make mistakes on their applications that could be avoided with the help of a Social Security disability attorney. Filing for disability can be a complicated and frustrating process, and even when you follow the guidelines for filling out the application, your claim will likely be denied the first time. To improve your chances of an approved claim, it’s important to understand the primary mistakes made when filing and why hiring an attorney can be beneficial.
Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Your Claim
When you’re filing a disability claim, here are some of the mistakes you should avoid to better your chances of receiving an approval:
#1 Failing to See a Doctor and Documenting Your Disability
For most claims, you must prove that you’re unable to work due to a mental or physical condition that will last for at least 12 months or end in your death. This proof comes from your medical records, doctor opinions and written statements, and medical information from all treating doctors, hospitals, and clinics. The SSA won’t approve your claim without specific medical documentation that proves your disabling condition. Thus, it’s helpful to keep a log of medical appointments with doctors, counselors, physical therapists, and any health care provider who is treating you.
#2 Failing to Meet Critical Deadlines
Filing for Social Security disability requires that you fill out many forms and get them submitted on time. There are also appointments that you must keep. It’s important that you meet these deadlines and respond to the SSA when it calls or arranges an appointment. If you don’t respond to letters or calls from the SSA, your claim will likely be denied for “failure to cooperate."
Additionally, you need to be involved in your claim. You can do this by making sure you:
- Never assume the mail will get a specific form to the SSA on time; instead, send the document certified mail with a return receipt request.
- Never assume that once the document arrives, it will be accurately documented by the SSA. You may need proof that you sent it.
- Never assume the SSA has all your documentation. Periodically check the status of your claim to ensure the SSA has all critical information.
#3 Failing to Understand How a Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help
It’s true that you don’t need an attorney to represent you at a Social Security disability hearing. Various individuals advertise themselves as advocates who can assist you, and you can even represent yourself at the hearing. However, because the fees for anyone representing you is predetermined by law, it doesn’t cost you anything more to hire an attorney. Additionally, an attorney can:
- Better prepare and present your case
- Pursue an appeal on your behalf
- Understand the complicated and ever-changing rules of Social Security law
Contact Colin Smith Law
At Colin Smith Law, we understand that a disability can create financial hardship. We take great pride in offering personal attention and service to every client who needs help with a Social Security disability claim, and we will work as swiftly as possible to move your case forward toward an approval. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your disability claim.