Social Security Disability benefits provide necessary financial relief to those suffering from disabling conditions across Indiana and the rest of the country. However, the application process can be long, frustrating and complex.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies many initial SSD claims. Many of these first-time claims are for legitimate disabling conditions, yet the application fails to comprehensively convey this. Because it can take months to learn the fate of your application, here are some common mistakes to avoid to strengthen your application:
Applying too soon
To be eligible for SSD benefits, your impairment must keep you from working for 12 months. It may be tempting to start your application sooner. However, if you submit your application before this 12-month mark, the SSA could argue that your condition may still improve.
Submitting insufficient medical proof
As part of the evidentiary requirements necessary to consider your application, the SSA requires comprehensive medical evidence. This must support:
- The severity of your impairment
- The nature of your condition
- How long you have experienced it
- Whether you can continue to work
To provide the most conclusive medical evidence, include records from the hospitals, clinics, health facilities and more that have treated you from the start of your condition. Submitting insufficient medical evidence is one of the most common reasons why the SSA denies many first-time applications.
Failing to properly follow doctor’s orders
The SSA expects you to take all reasonable measures to treat your condition and continue working. When your medical evidence shows recommended treatments or measures by your doctor that went unfollowed, it could suggest that you have not exerted the necessary efforts to treat your impairment.
Continuing to work throughout the process
The SSA requires your disabling condition to keep you from performing your job duties for 12 months before applying for benefits. However, you may work fewer hours without harming your claim. To remain eligible, you must refrain from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The monthly SGA amount in 2019 for statutorily blind individuals is $2,040 while the amount for non-blind individuals is $1,220.
If you do discover the SSA denied your claim, don’t forget you have options. You may appeal the original decision to submit further supporting evidence of your condition. Work with an attorney to discover how to correct any mistakes made on your original claim and meet all deadlines.