The approval process for Social Security disability benefits shouldn't be difficult. However, for many people, the process is complicated and long. In 2014, around 68 percent of the applications for Social Security disability benefits were denied. Unfortunately, this means the odds are stacked against you. So how do you put the odds back in your favor? Avoid making some of the simple mistakes that others make during the application process.
You might think that it's okay to receive unemployment benefits while you're waiting for your Social Security disability benefits to be approved, but in most cases it's not. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) can't decline your application just because you receive unemployment payments, receiving the payment could make the examiner question whether or not you're actually disabled. When you apply for disability benefits, you're telling the SSA that you can't work for at least a year. However, when you submit your unemployment information for each filing period, you're claiming that you're available to work once you land a job, and you're required to apply for multiple positions within the filing period. These aren't things that you would do or state if you were unable to work for at least 12 months.
Not Going to the Doctor
Part of the Social Security disability approval process requires examiners to review the applicant's medical information to determine whether he or she qualifies for disability benefits. This means, if you don't have sufficient medical records explaining the details of your disability, you may not have enough proof available for the examiner to approve your application. Fortunately, the SSA does have a list of acceptable reasons for not seeking proper medical attention for your disability, including:
- You can't afford to pay for medical costs, and you don't qualify for any low-cost or free medical benefits.
- The medication needed for treatment comes with side effects that are worse than the symptoms of your condition.
- There isn't an effective treatment option available for your medical condition.
- Obtaining medical treatment goes against your religious beliefs.
Ignoring Your Doctor's Orders
If you have sought treatment for your condition, the SSA will look through your medical records to determine whether or not you have followed your doctor's recommendations. If you aren't following your doctor's orders, you need to be able to explain why you haven't complied. For example, if you stated that you have a disability that causes you chronic pain, which renders you unable to work, and you don't take the pain medication prescribed by your physician, the SSA examiner might wonder whether the pain you're experiencing is actually as bad as you claim. So, if you aren't following your doctor's recommendations, you should consider talking to a Social Security disability attorney before you apply for disability benefits.
Doing your best to avoid these common mistakes won't guarantee approval of your disability application. However, it could lower your risk of having the SSA deny your application. Keep in mind, if you have any questions before you file for disability benefits, the best thing you can do is contact a Social Security disability attorney before you apply. Contact a firm like Banik & Renner for more information.