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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Social Security Disability

If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that keeps you from working, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits. That’s great news—but you’ll need to be careful when applying for it. The process can be tricky, and if you make a mistake, it can significantly delay your ability to receive the benefits that could help support you through this difficult time.

Applying for disability benefits isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll share some common mistakes people make when applying for benefits so that you can avoid making the same errors and improve the chances of getting your application approved quickly.

Not Providing Enough Medical Evidence

Don’t let applying for social security disability benefits intimidate you. To get approved, however, you must provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with detailed medical information that proves your disability.

It’s important to understand that the SSA will build a case for your disability based on the medical evidence you provide. This means you must have enough evidence from various physicians and other healthcare providers to show the SSA how you cannot work due to your condition.

Also, ensure that each piece of evidence is complete and detailed, including diagnosis information, test results, medications, treatment plans, and any other pertinent information required by the SSA. It’s also a good idea to submit evidence from more than one provider if applicable—this will reinforce your claim and strengthen your overall case.

Filing an Incomplete Application

Before your application for social security disability is approved, it must be complete. That means that you have to include all the details and evidence needed to prove your disability—such as medical records, pay stubs, and other paperwork. It’s important to ensure you include all this information in your application to avoid delays.

When submitting an incomplete application, the processing time can be extended by weeks or months. It’s also possible that a decision may not be made at all if essential information is missing from the application form. To ensure everything is submitted properly and promptly, double-check all information before submitting anything.

Also, attach any required documentation, such as medical records or financial statements, as they can play a major role in helping the Social Security Administration process your application sooner. A good way to eliminate mistakes and omissions is to consult an experienced legal professional who can help you ensure everything is included in your initial application package.

Waiting Too Long to Apply

Sometimes, when facing a disability, people may not want to consider it or apply for social security Disability. Unfortunately, this isn’t wise—waiting too long to apply for social security disability can make the process even more difficult.

Pre-existing Conditions

The social security disability system requires applicants to have been unable to do substantial work for at least 12 months due to a disability that is expected to last at least another year or result in death. If you wait too long, your condition could be flagged as pre-existing and thus not eligible.

Missing Proof of Your Disability

To receive benefits, you must prove your disability—and if you wait too long, important documents might expire or become unavailable, making it harder to prove that your condition qualifies for benefits. It’s also important to note that the SSA will only go back so far when researching medical records and other forms of proof related to your disability claim—often the last five years—so make sure to apply as soon as you can.

avoid mistakes when applying for permanernt benefits

Outdated Employer Records

Along with medical records, your employer’s records are often just as essential when filing for social security disability benefits—but again, if you wait too long, these might become invalid or unavailable. The SSA typically needs current records from employers acquired within two years of the filing date to approve applications.

Not Appealing a Denial

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying for social security disability is not appealing a denial. It’s important to know that just because your initial application is denied doesn’t mean you can’t receive social security disability benefits. Around 60% of all initial applications are denied—but don’t get discouraged.

Instead, the best way to move forward is by filing an appeal for reconsideration and going through the appeals process. During this process, you’ll need to submit additional and updated evidence to show that your condition has changed significantly since your original application.

You’ll also be able to present additional evidence or testimony from a third-party professional or witness regarding your disability, like a psychiatrist or doctor who can help support your disability claim.

Missing Deadlines

Before you start your application for disability, it’s essential to make sure you know when all the critical deadlines are. Missing a deadline or submitting your application too late can be critical errors that delay or overturn a decision, so double-check your initial application and any appeals you file later.

If you miss a deadline while filing for social security disability benefits, here are some of the mistakes you need to avoid:

  • Failing to Meet Initial Deadline: As soon as the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your application, they’ll calculate benefits from the day you filed. Failure to meet the initial deadline could mean lost benefits if your claim is rejected and has to be appealed.
  • Missing Your Appeal Deadline: If you’re denied during the initial stage of your claim, you must file an appeal within 60 days of receiving your notice of denial or appeal. Even if there’s a valid explanation for missing this deadline, such as illness or hospitalization, try to get an extension from an SSA representative as soon as possible before it’s too late.
  • Not Submitting Necessary Documentation: You need to provide documentation confirming the information in your application so SSA can accurately determine if you’re eligible for benefits. Submitting necessary medical and employment documents on time ensures your application goes through smoothly and gets accepted by the deadline.

Not Checking Your Application Status Regularly

Once you have successfully applied for social security disability, checking your application status regularly is important. You could be in for an unpleasant surprise if you don’t know when to expect a response.

If you wait too long to check your status, your application could fall through the cracks and be denied altogether. The best way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to follow up with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and check on the progress of your application every couple of weeks, even if it feels like nothing is happening.

Contact an Experienced San Francisco Social Security Attorney

Applying for social security disability can be a complex and overwhelming process. However, by avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this blog post and seeking the help of an experienced disability attorney, you can increase your chances of obtaining approval for benefits.

Remember to speak with a disability attorney before submitting applications or attending hearings. They can guide you in gathering medical evidence, filling out forms correctly, and representing you during appeals.

If you are looking for a reputable San Francisco social security disability law firm that has helped many clients successfully obtain SSDI benefits, look no further than our San Francisco Injury Lawyers team. Call us today at 415-843-7099 to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We are dedicated to helping individuals get the financial assistance they need while navigating this difficult time.

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