The number of approved social security disability claims has declined almost every year since 2004 as the nation has moved away from government assistance programs. Those numbers can be quite scary if you are facing disability and don’t know where your next paycheck will come from.
But there are steps you can take to improve your probability of being approved for assistance. One of the most important is understanding the most common reasons for being denied disability.
- Insufficient Medical Evidence
In order for social security disability claims to be accepted, the applicant must provide hard medical evidence that they qualify. They need to prove the condition and demonstrate how it makes them unable to work.
To provide the evidence required, you will need to get a copy of your medical records from your doctor. It’s best to have at least several months’ worth of records when you apply to demonstrate how your medical condition has persisted.
Some people are sent by the Social Security office to a doctor who will verify their disability, but you shouldn’t count on that doctor’s visit to prove your condition. The records that come from your primary care doctor are the most important. It’s also helpful if you have notes from your doctor stating that you need to miss work or that your work schedule needs to be modified due to your condition. Those notes could play an important role in the processing of your claim.
- Being Previously Denied Disability
If you have filed a social security disability claim in the past, then the Social Security Administration will be able to see that application on your record. When you file a new claim, they will evaluate the reasons your past one was denied and see if your new claim is any different.
If you are applying for the same condition or injury as before, then you should send your new information in for an appeal process for your original claim. If you have a new injury, then you should consider filing a new application.
- Unwillingness to Follow Treatment
When you are relying on disability benefits for your income, you have to consistently go to your doctor for treatment and update your caseworker about what is going on. If you fail to follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor, then you will not be able to get benefits.
In order to demonstrate that your condition prevents you from working, you must first demonstrate that you are doing everything you can to overcome your illness. If your claim is denied for not following treatment recommendations, then you will have to bring up your reasons for making that choice during the appeal process. In that case, it is advisable to hire a disability attorney to handle your claim.
- Unwillingness to Provide Documentation
There is a lot of private and personal information involved in the social security disability claims process, and that you have to provide your examiner with all of the information they need.
If you refuse to provide documentation for everything, then your examiner will be unable to assess whether you truly need benefits. Make sure you show up on time for any scheduled medical exams and give your examiner documentation as it is requested. Try to stay in contact with the examiner who is handling your case so that you can get with them quickly if they need more information. This will help speed up the claims process as much as possible.
- Don’t Meet the Non-Medical Requirements
In order to receive Title II disability benefits, you have to have paid in at least a certain amount into the system. But there are other requirements as well. If you are still working when you decide to apply your gross monthly earnings must be less than $1220 in order to even be considered for disability. You must also cooperate with the administration and show up for all appointments and exams or you will be denied benefits.
Make sure you stay in contact with your caseworker. If you change your phone number or move without alerting anyone then the case will likely not make it through the process. There is a disability Program for children and those who have not paid enough into the system called supplemental security income (SSI). To qualify, you must meet all of the same medical requirements as in a Title II claim but you must also meet certain household income limitations as well.
These income limitations vary depending on how many people are living in your household. You can find a list of these limitations on ssa.gov
- Illness is Drug or Alcohol-Related
Drug and alcohol addictions are very serious medical conditions that can prevent you from working. But as part of your treatment plan, your doctor will suggest that you quit completely. If after quitting you are able to completely return to work, then you will not be able to receive disability. But if your illness progresses to the point where you get cirrhosis of the liver and mental illness before you are able to quit, then you would be eligible to file for those conditions.
If your condition would not improve even though you are now sober then you may be eligible to receive disability. If you are dealing with addiction at the same time as a disability, your best bet is to get sober first, and then apply for disability so that it doesn’t interfere with your claim or your ability to get well.
What if You’re Denied Disability?
Being denied disability is a very heart sinking feeling. You may feel like you have no other avenues for help and not know how you will keep a roof over your head or be able to pay for your medical care. That’s why we take the disability claims process so seriously and fight for your right to compensation for your claim. Contact us today for help.