Filing a Social Security disability claim is a tedious and time-consuming ordeal. In order to maximize your chances of approval, proper research and planning is paramount to success. Detailed below are 3 common mistakes you should avoid at all costs:
1. Missing a deadline.
The claim number and date is prominently stamped in the top right corner of your “Notice of Disapproved Claims” letter. You have 60 days to submit a “Request for Hearing,” which is a form (HA-501-U2) you can request from your local Social Security Administration office. It clearly states on the letter, “The 60 days start the day after you get this letter. We assume you got this letter 5 days after the date on it unless you show us that you did not get it within the 5-day period.” If you miss your opportunity to appeal for reconsideration or request for hearing, you’ll have to start the entire process completely over from the beginning. There is no reason you shouldn’t try your hardest to meet this deadline. Don’t be discouraged by a denial either! 60-70% of applications get rejected before seeing an administrative law judge (ALJ).
2. Applying for or receiving unemployment.
When filing a Social Security disability claim, you are essentially stating you are unable to work and expect to be unable to work for at least another year. When you are applying for or receiving unemployment, you are stating you are ready and available to work as soon as you can find a job which fits your skills. This is a catch-22, so avoid doing this at all costs. Lawyers, non-lawyer advocates, ALJs, and Social Security claims examiners all have their own opinion on this controversial issue. ALJs and Social Security claims examiners have been known to deny or dismiss claims based solely on this premise. There are many pitfalls when applying for both, so consider the risks! In some cases, you might have to pay back unemployment benefits you weren’t eligible for. In any case, if your disability claim is somehow miraculously approved, then you definitely should call the unemployment department and ask them to cease your benefits.
3. Thinking you can’t afford a disability lawyer.
There typically aren’t any out-of-pocket costs when it comes to hiring a disability attorney or advocate. The only possible cost to the client upfront would be money spent acquiring a claimant’s medical and work records, copies, postage, and seldom medical or psychological examinations (these can be a little pricey sometimes). It would be abnormal for these costs to ever exceed a couple hundred dollars. These costs are separate from the attorney’s fee and usually the attorney will front the client the money necessary and bill them later regardless of the outcome on the case. Most disability lawyers are only paid if they win the case and this is what’s known as a contingency fee. You sign an agreement when you first hire the attorney which allows the SSA to allocate 25% of your back-pay (or past-due benefits), up to a maximum of $6,000, to your attorney. It’s important to ask potential disability attorneys if there can be any out-of-pocket expenses and what they might be before you hire them. If you’re looking for quality representation for your Social Security disability claim, the experts found at www.disabilitylawyer.com are definitely worthy of your consideration. You can visit their Twitter profile for more information.