Mistake #1: Ignore Deadlines.
Many, who are applying for Social Security Disability are so ill they have a difficult time keeping up with the deadlines imposed by the Social Security Administration. But the Social Security Administration has very strict deadlines which you cannot just ignore. If you receive a denial letter, you have only 60 days to appeal.
Mistake #2: Stopping Medical Treatment.
It is a commonly held belief that if a person stops receiving medical treatment for his/her disabling condition, then they are no longer ill, but now they have recovered from this debilitating disease or condition. If there are significant gaps in treatment, this suggests you are not suffering from a disability; otherwise, you would be maintaining your treatment and care for whatever you suffer from that prevents you from being able to work. They prove the severity of your condition. Without the support of your medical records, you have very little change to win your case. Remember, it is difficult for an ALJ or anyone else for that matter to give credence to your complains or ailments if you have not continued to see a doctor for them. So if you are complaining of chronic pain it is important that you have ongoing documentation of treatment for this persistent chronic condition, such as treatment by a pain management doctor.
People who are applying for Social Security Disability often do not have the insurance or the funds to pay for treatment. But the treatment records, i.e. your medical records are the evidence that is relied on to prove the severity of your condition. Most claims do not contain enough medical documentation to win benefits.
There are programs in the community that you could qualify for in order to receive medical treatment. You should check with the local non profit facilities to see if they provide programs that you may qualify for. Your attorney could assist you in locating these resources.
Mistake #3: Relying on the consultative examiner to prove your disability claim.
The Social Security Administration may schedule you for an appointment with a “consultative examiner.” Generally this consultative examiner (CE) is a medical doctor or psychologist specializing in the field of your disability. It is a mistake to merely rely on the CE’s report to prove your disability claim. For this examining doctor does not know you as well as your treating doctor would. This examining doctor’s report is limited to his/her examination of your along with a review of your medical history and any diagnostic tests that may have been received to write a comprehensive report. This evaluation is limited as compared to an on going progress report provided by your treating doctor. In addition, remember the CE does not work for you, this doctor is paid by the Social Security Administration to obtain medical evidence and write a report.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Mail From the Social Security Administration.
Sticking your head in the sand does not benefit your situation. Although you may be feeling ill, tired or just do not want to deal with potentially bad news from the Social Security Administration, this is no time to ignore their correspondence. If the Social Security Administration send you a letter requesting additional information or scheduled you for a consultative examination and you do not reply, you end up delaying your claim or worse yet risk having your claim denied.
Mistake #5: Failing to Keep Copies of Your Correspondence.
Sometimes forms or letters are misplaced at the Social Security Administration office. Protect yourself by making copies of anything you send to them.
Mistake #6: Delay Applying for Benefits.
Sometimes people delay applying for disability because they feel their condition will improve. In the interim, most have become unable to work and even end up quitting their job due to their inability to perform it. You should apply for Social Security Disability as soon as you and your medical doctor decide that your condition will prevent you from returning to work. Waiting to file could cost you benefits that you might not be able to recover. You should apply as soon as you stop working due to your disability, you do not have to wait for one year to apply.
Remember for approval, the Social Security Administration law requires one of the following: (1) you have already been disabled and out of work for one year, or (2) your doctors expect that you will be unable to work for a minimum of one year from the date you last worked, or (3) your medical condition is expected to result in death. You do not have to be unemployed for one year before applying for Social Security Disability. If you have been told this, that information is incorrect.
Mistake #7: Continue Working While Applying for Social Security Disability.
If you are capable of working you are not disabled. It is not enough to just show you are unable to return to the type of work you used to do. you also must be incapable of performing any other job. This claim should be backed up by your treating physician.