You may have heard about some of the things you should do when applying for Social Security Disability benefits, but what about the things you should not do? Below, review the list of things you should not do when applying for benefits, because they could hurt your chances of receiving compensation.
Do Not Apply for the Wrong Program
Social Security has two very different programs that disabled individuals may apply for. It is important that you apply for the right one:
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits for disabled individuals who worked and paid into the Social Security program through payroll deductions. To qualify, a person must have a disability expected to last at least a year or be terminal. Claimants must also have enough work credits to qualify for this program. SSDI claimants have a five-month waiting period from the time when they become disabled to begin receiving benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program that is available for claimants who do not have sufficient work credits to be eligible for SSDI. To qualify, claimants' incomes must be below a certain level and they must have a small amount of assets ($2,000 in countable assets for individuals and $3,000 in assets for married couples).
Do Not Leave Anything Blank on the Application
Do not leave anything blank when filling out the application. Provide an honest response to each question with as many details as possible. List all of your medical providers and all relevant information. Avoid misspelled words, especially when referring to medical diagnoses to avoid confusion. If you are confused about the application, a Social Security Disability lawyer can assist you.
Do Not Wrongfully Claim Dependents
Do not add dependents who you do not actually support. If you do, this can be considered fraud. In addition to being denied benefits, you can also face criminal charges for an attempt to defraud the government. If you do have dependents, list their names and information accurately. They may be able to receive benefits off of your claim.
Do Not Apply for a Non-Severe Injury
You can only receive disability benefits for an injury or illness that is considered severe. By Social Security terms, this means that your physical or mental impairment has lasted or is expected to last at least one full year or that it is believed to be terminal. If you have an impairment that is only expected to last a few months, do not apply for disability benefits. Even if you cannot perform your current job, your claim can be denied if your impairment only prevents you from performing some normal work activities.
Do Not Refile if Your Claim is Denied
If your claim is denied, there are multiple steps for you to appeal the decision. However, it is usually preferable to appeal rather than refile your claim. Unless you have more evidence, your refiled claim is likely to be denied for the same reasons the first one was denied.
Do Not Stop Medical Treatment
After satisfying the economic requirements, the rest of your application is based on your medical condition. It is important that you continue seeing the doctor and receiving medical treatment. Provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with supplemental information if necessary. If you stop going to the doctor, the SSA may assume your condition is not that serious.
Do Not File Too Soon
Be sure that your disability meets the definition of a severe injury before filing. If you apply for benefits too early, it may be more difficult for you to prove that you have a permanent disability. Your claims representative may believe that your condition will improve before you would meet the longevity criteria. Wait until a medical provider has opined that your condition will last for one year or longer.
Do Not Do It Yourself
Many disability benefit applications are initially denied. The application process for these benefit programs is complicated and you could greatly benefit from the assistance of a skilled Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer. Claimants who have competent legal assistance may have an advantage over individuals who go it alone.
Dayes Law Firm PC has helped many people with disabilities secure the benefits they are entitled. Our Social Security disability lawyers know what the Social Security Administration is looking for and can help you prepare your application so it includes the necessary information. If your claim is denied, our attorneys can also assist with every step in the appeals process.
We offer a free, no obligation legal consultation and do not charge for our services unless you receive compensation.