3 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Disability

An injury or illness that results in disability can leave you struggling to make ends meet. It's only natural that you would consider applying for social security disability. The key is to make sure you apply correctly. The following are three mistakes to avoid when you are filing for disability.

#1: Having a non-qualifying disability

Not every disability qualifies for social security disability payments. First and foremost, your disability must be a long-term disability, which means it is expected to persist for more than a year. It must also be severe enough to prevent you from working a full-time job. This can vary from person to person, depending on their marketable skills and training.

For example, a disability that prevents a welder from working may not prevent an accountant from finding employment. Finally, the disability must be listed on the list of allowable conditions that is kept by the Social Security Administration, or you must demonstrate that your disability is equal to one of the conditions on the list.

#2: Not keeping accurate records

You will need to show proof of disability, which is most easily done with accurate records. These records should be as detailed as possible and go back as far as possible in your disability journey. Medical records are by far the most necessary, including a history of treatments and the current doctor's prognosis.

Past employment records can also help, since these can show how your disability impacted your career and your loss of ability to do your job. Just make sure the records do not exaggerate your disability—this can result in an immediate denial for presenting falsehoods. On the flip side, you don't want to minimize the extent of your disability either.

#3: Failing to track the process

Filing for disability is usually a long and drawn-out process. This means that you can easily forget deadlines or steps as you move through it. Make sure you are well aware of filing deadlines, as well as any deadlines you are given for supplying additional paperwork or supporting documents. If your claim is denied, you will need to make sure to appeal the decision before the appeal deadline passes.

The easiest way to track everything is to dedicate a binder just to the disability process. Keep the originals of all paperwork filed in the binder (you will only send in copies). The first page should be a calendar where you track deadlines as well as the date you submit items.

For more help, contact a social security disability attorney in your area.