Filing to collect Social Security disability benefits can be very confusing for many people. There may be an intentional reason for that.
Unfortunately, an extremely small minority of people who try to cheat the system have made it even more complicated, resulting in legitimate applicants being penalized for mistakes made during the application process. For this reason, a serious applicant must be informed and intentional about what is said in their application.
To help ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve, we’ve compiled these helpful tips to keep in mind and critical mistakes to avoid when filing for disability benefits
What To Say
By focusing primarily on what you should say when filing for disability, you’re more likely to feel confident and avoid making missteps. The two main points to remember are to be honest and to be detailed.
In terms of your disability, it’s important that you are transparent about your medical symptoms and mental health issues, how they are affecting your social life and other daily activities, and the costs you regularly face. Talk about your medical treatments, impairments, medications, and any side effects you’ve suffered, and how these interfere with your ability to work and live daily. These facts are essential to your case.
You may also have to answer questions about your work history. If you are asked for this information, be detailed and account for everything you had to do at your job, even if it may seem unnecessary.
Your work history is essential because part of your claim review will involve determining if you can do other forms of work. The reviewer will take your training, duties, transferable skills and even your education level and age into account, so the more open and honest you are, the better off you’ll be.
What Not To Say
Now that we’ve covered some tips on what you should say when filing for disability benefits, it’s vital to also understand what you should avoid saying. Certain phrases or information can harm your case, and being aware of them when filling out your application is essential. In this section, we’ll discuss common mistakes to avoid in your disability application.
Don’t try to condense your symptoms or disabilities to save space or time. Provide as many details as possible about your conditions, and avoid leaving anything out in an attempt to be concise. Also, don’t be embarrassed or think that you’re overblowing the things you deal with, as this can lead to an incomplete or inaccurate picture of your situation. Remember that you can’t take up too much space describing your conditions and their effects on your life.
On the other hand, don’t try to over-exaggerate your conditions thinking it’ll get you more sympathy. While it may be tempting to play up your symptoms in the hopes of receiving more favorable treatment, this approach is unlikely to succeed. Reviewers are trained to spot exaggerations, and if they believe you are overstating your symptoms, it could raise questions about the validity of your claim.
Instead, focus on providing an honest and accurate description of your symptoms and how they impact your ability to work and live on a daily basis.
Fighting a Refusal
Try not to be disheartened if your first try gets refused. This is more common than many people realize, and it’s not the end of the road for you.
To begin the appeals process, you must file a request for reconsideration. This provides you with the opportunity to provide additional information that may strengthen your case. At this stage, it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced disability attorney who can help you build a robust appeal.
Being denied benefits after putting hard work into your application can be frustrating, but always remember that you have the right to appeal this decision.
We’ve been helping disabled individuals in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Inland Empire and Orange County get the disability benefits they need for years. Call Dr. Bill LaTour and his team today or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.