Most people in Illinois know that the Social Security Disability denial rate is high. Unfortunately, lack of a legitimate disability is not always the reason for claim denial. Instead, denials often occur because of mistakes applicants make when claiming disability benefits.
Medical evidence errors
Many applicants fail to provide appropriate medical evidence to support their claims. The Social Security Administration requires statements and diagnoses from licensed professionals. Evidence from specialists with a history of treating the patient is also preferred. Specific information about accepted medical evidence is provided in the book Disability Evaluation Under Social Security.
Claims are often denied when applicants don’t establish the condition’s duration, progression and daily effects with medical evidence. Applicants also must show they have pursued reasonable, doctor-recommended treatment. Claims are often denied if applicants have refused or stopped seeking treatment.
Poor documentation of mental conditions is another common misstep. Applicants should seek ongoing treatment to establish proof of any mental conditions. People who suffer from mental and physical conditions should not omit the mental conditions from the Social Security Disability application. If a physical condition does not qualify for benefits, an individual’s combined conditions could merit a medical-vocational allowance.
Applicants also may make the mistake of staying with doctors who do not support their disability claims. A doctor’s opinion can be highly impactful. For instance, a doctor’s evaluation of Residual Functional Capacity can reveal functional limitations that medical records may not suggest. If a doctor does not consider an applicant’s condition disabling, the applicant should seek treatment elsewhere.
If an applicant suffers from an impairment listed in Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, along with specified symptoms, the condition is automatically considered disabling. In other cases, the SSA evaluates how the condition affects the individual’s ability to work. The following work-related application mistakes can undermine a claim:
- Continuing working. If monthly employment income exceeds $1,070, an applicant is not eligible for benefits. Working also may suggest the applicant is not fully disabled.
- Collecting unemployment benefits. These are awarded to people who state they are able to work but unable to find employment. SSD benefits are not available to people who can work gainfully.
- Submitting a vague work history. The SSA will find an individual disabled if the individual cannot perform work he or she is reasonably qualified for. Without detailed employment history, the SSA may misunderstand an individual’s qualifications.
Finally, many applicants assume legal help is unnecessary or unaffordable. However, Social Security Disability attorneys can prevent various common errors on SSD applications. These attorneys work on a contingency basis and only collect fees if a claim is approved. For many applicants, giving up the fee is preferable to risking claim denial.