5 Steps to avoid a disability denialEvery day on our forum claimants ask how they can file their SSI or SSDI application and avoid some of the common mistakes made by claimants that frequently lead to a disability denial and waste months of the applicants time.
Given that the application time frame for even great claims can be as long as 90 to 120 days it is important to make sure that if you complete the SSDI application or SSI application it is done right the first time. So lets review some common mistakes and find out ways to avoid a denial the first time you apply for SSA disability benefits.
1. Make sure you are not working too much to get disability benefits.
Somehow this first step seems to really confuse applicants. If you are performing substantial gainful activity the SSA will consider you not disabled because their definition of disabled is the INABILITY to work. Now, can you work VERY part-time? Potentially, but more often than not a disability examiner will look at a claimants work schedule and if they are able to work 20 hours or more the examiner will determine that they might be able to work just a little bit more.
2. Make sure you have enough work credits for SSDI benefits.
SSDI is only offered to claimants who have worked and paid taxes into the SSA system. The SSA does not allow you to use your spouses work credits, buy work credits or slip through if you are only lacking a few work credits. This is very straight forward, either you have enough work credits or you do not. Housewives, workers who have received cash payments and did not paid taxes or government and state workers who have contributed into another disability system may not have enough work credits to EVER get SSDI benefits.
3. Make sure your condition will last 12 continuous months.
The SSA does not give any type of temporary or short-term benefits. If you are pregnant- you are not disabled. If you have been in a serious car accident but you will recover within 12 months, regardless of whether you cannot work right not or not and assuming you will get better within 12 months, you are not disabled.
4. Get help immediately if you cannot properly complete your SSDI or SSI application.
Some claimants are simply too sick to fill out the disability application, fight with the SSA, research how the SSA makes their disability determination and prepare for multiple disability appeals.
Admitting your limitations at the first and finding someone to help you can save you weeks or months struggling through the process. If you decide to hire a disability lawyer or advocate they may be willing to help you with your application and they may not. Discuss what services they provide. Disability lawyers are paid only if they win your case so it may be worth discussing your case with them. There are, however, other companies whose sole business is to assist disability claimants with their applications. Their services can be expensive, but in the long run it could actually save you money if you can avoid a denial.
5. Go to the doctor.
Without medical documentation to prove you are disabled your chances of getting approved for SSDI or SSI are VERY low. If you do not have medical insurance or money to pay out of pocket medical costs you obviously have additional challenges of getting great medical evidence. Everyone wants a solution to this problem and the sad truth is there is not one. But if at all possible find a doctor or a free clinic and begin to document your health issues.
- SSDI and SSI: How many times can I apply for benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)