It can be a long and strenuous process to apply for Social Security Disability, taking anywhere from six to 24 months to approve the application. Mistakes made on the application can also back the process up, making it harder to get the benefits you need from the government. Before you apply, you must determine if it's right for you to apply for disability benefits, provide medical documentation, fill out a variety of forms and possibly attend a hearing or file appeals. The following are some common mistakes to avoid when you decide to apply for disability benefits.
Discontinuing medical care
If you aren't working because of a disability or injury, it may seem unnecessary to come up with the money to continue to see your doctor when you need care. The problem is that your ability to receive benefits can be affected if you discontinue treatment with your medical health professional. Most SSD examiners want proof that you have not improved in your condition even after receiving a treatment regimen from your doctor.
Applying too soon
It can cost you significant amounts of time and money to apply for benefits too soon. It may seem like you should do it early because you can't work and need money quickly, but it is expected that you can't work for 12 months because of your disability. What you can do instead is notify the Social Security Administration of your intent to file soon if you are concerned about a disability and how it will affect your ability to work.
Underestimating or exaggerating your disability
Be as honest as possible on your application about your disability and how it affects your work and home life. Do not allow pride from dealing with your condition for so long to cause you to undermine your disability, and never make your condition seem worse than it is. You can elaborate on your condition, but not exaggerate. If you are required to attend a hearing for your benefits, you want the facts to back up your application.
Not preparing for a hearing
Because the process can be so exhausting, many people come to their hearings unprepared and discouraged, expecting to be turned down again. Always come to your hearing prepared with the facts and correct documentation to prove that you are eligible for SSD.
The application process can be confusing and time-consuming, and you may also deal with frustration from your lack of work and money as you fight to get your benefits. An attorney may be able to help you push through the process faster and more accurately.