Here’s the bad news: Roughly two million people apply for some form of disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) every single year – and only 38% of them will actually be approved without having to file an appeal. The good news is that about 50% of those who do appeal their initial denial eventually get approved either through the reconsideration process or via a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Wouldn’t it be much better, however, if you knew how to avoid some of the most common reasons initial claims are denied? That could help you avoid a lengthy wait and get your life back on track much sooner. With that in mind, here are three of the biggest mistakes to avoid:
Not talking to your physician before you file
When making medical decisions on claims, SSA will generally give more weight to your own regular provider’s medical opinions than they do to doctors who only saw you in a hospital or for a consultation. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not approaching your physician about your decision to file for disability and asking for their support.
Not providing enough documentation to support your claim
When you file a claim, the paperwork can seem endless. Aside from the initial application and medical releases, you may be asked to give a detailed explanation of your education and work history, as well as descriptions of your daily activities and how you manage everything from cooking a meal to taking a shower. Skip any of these things and the decision on your claim will be made without them, and that’s not likely to be in your favor.
Not cooperating with your doctor’s treatment plan
Many conditions can be effectively controlled through proper medical care, so SSA wants to know that you’ve at least tried to get better. Unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise, like a lack of insurance, you need to comply with your physician’s recommended treatment plan.
As of 2021, more than one out of every 10 adults in West Virginia is on some form of disability benefits, but that figure belies the fact that actually gaining approval for your claim can be very difficult without the right legal assistance. Therefore, being proactive in this regard is usually a good idea.