If you suffer from a debilitating injury or illness, then you might find your financial stability on the line. This is especially true if your condition makes it impossible for you to obtain and maintain employment. As stressful as that can be, you can find relief through the Social Security Disability system if you successfully navigate the claims process.
On its face, the disability claims process might seem easy. You prove that you have a disabling condition that affects your ability to work, and as a result you’re provided with support. But the truth is that the process is filled with complications and nuances, any one of which could jeopardize your claim. With that in mind, let’s look at some commonly made mistakes that you’ll want to avoid in order to protect your claim.
Mistakes to avoid in the disability claims process
There are more errors that can be made during the disability claims process than many people realize. Here are some of the biggest and most devastating that you’ll want to avoid:
- Procrastinating: We know it can be hard to muster the courage to pursue a disability claim, but waiting too long jeopardizes your ability to secure financial stability. After all, it can take months, sometimes even years for the process to play out. And there’s a limit on how far back your disability benefits can go once approved. So, the sooner you act, the better.
- Submitting incomplete documentation: When you pursue disability benefits, you’ll need to submit documentation that supports your claimed medical condition and that proves that you have the requisite work history to obtain disability benefits. Without this documentation, the government is probably going to find that it has inadequate information to make a determination on your claim, which at best will significantly delay the process. At worst, it might lead to a claim denial.
- Not listening to your doctor: Your doctor’s opinion on the extent of your condition and its impact on your ability to work could be pivotal in your case. If you don’t follow their recommendations, though, then it’s going to be hard to show that your condition is as severe as you claim it to be. This, in turn, is a quick way to see your disability claim denied.
- Over-exaggerating your condition: If you speak in absolutes and exaggerate the impact of your condition on your ability to operate, then the government is probably going to question your credibility. So, focus on being honest. You certainly don’t want to downplay your injuries, but you need to be realistic.
- Accepting the decision that’s made on your initial claim: The majority of initial disability claims are denied. Although that can feel like a punch to the gut, it shouldn’t be the end of the road. You can appeal a claim denial, which could result in reversal of the initial decision. So, don’t take “no” for an answer. Instead, ready yourself to argue on appeal for what you deserve.
Don’t be afraid of the disability claims process, be ready
Social Security disability benefits can serve as a lifeline in your time of need. But the benefits you need aren’t going to be handed over to you. You have to fight for them. As daunting as that may sound, you don’t have to face this process alone. You can surround yourself with support and educate yourself on the process so that you’re best positioned to advocate for what you deserve. Hopefully then you can secure the outcome you deserve, thereby providing you with the financial stability you need while you cope with your medical condition.