Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is a complicated process and can be frustrating for many people who have no idea how to navigate the process. In addition to a tremendous amount of documentation that must be gathered, managed, and submitted according to the deadline, claimants must also be familiar with the laws and regulations that govern SSDI claims.
These reasons alone are enough to warrant working with an experienced SSDI attorney; however, you should also be aware of these seven costly mistakes that could disable your SSDI claim:
- Failing to establish a solid medical record.
Your doctor’s opinion is important in obtaining SSDI benefits, but it is not the only important factor. That opinion also needs to be supported by medical or other evidence that you are truly disabled. Be sure you establish a solid medical record by:
- Seeing your doctor as soon as you are injured or ill;
- Provide your doctor with detailed information about your injury or illness so it becomes part of your medical record;
- Follow the treatment regiments recommended by your doctor;
- See any specialists referred by your doctor; and
- Keep detailed notes about any pain you are experiencing that prevents you from working.
- Waiting too long to apply for SSDI benefits.
It typically takes between three to five months to find out whether or not your initial application has been approved so you should file as soon as you know you are unable to return to work. To speed up the process, make sure you submit all of the necessary documentation to the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you submit the initial application. If the SSA has to request additional information, this could delay their decision.
- Waiting too long to appeal a denial of benefits.
Almost three-quarters of all SSDI claims are denied initially, so you need to realize that denials are a part of the process. It is very likely your claim will be denied, so you should prepare for an appeal. To make your claim more viable to examiners, be sure your medical records accurately reflect your diagnosis, prognosis, and your functional limitations.
- Using alcohol or illegal drugs.
If your disability has been caused by the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, your SSDI benefits claim could be denied.
- Filing for unemployment benefits.
Filing for unemployment benefits means you are eligible for work; this is a direct contradiction of what you are telling the Social Security Administration by filing for SSDI benefits. However, if your disability is work-related, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits as well as SSDI benefits.
- Making contradictory statements.
Whenever you are making official statements about your disability — to your doctor, employer, or SSA representative — those statements need to be clear and consistent. Making conflicting statements will harm your credibility and could endanger your benefits.
- Failing to engage an SSDI attorney.
You have the right to represent yourself when applying for SSDI benefits, but doing so could be a mistake. The rules and regulations governing Social Security Disability benefits are confusing and complex, and if you do not have any experience with the system, you may find yourself spending years fighting for your benefits.
If you are disabled, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.