If you have a disabling injury or medical condition, you’ll want to avoid common mistakes that can ruin your claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Therefore, you want to ensure you complete the application process correctly, so you and your family get the payments you need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
However, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be complicated. In fact, the Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy reports that more than half of all claims receive an initial denial. Thus, having a disability attorney assist throughout the process could be critical to getting the benefits you need without a denial.
Failing to Supply Enough Medical Evidence for Your SSD Claim
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must have a qualifying medical condition that prevents you from working for at least one year to receive SSD benefits. You can find qualifying conditions in SSA’s Listing of Impairments, commonly known as the “Blue Book.” Eligible injuries, illnesses, and impairments include:
- Organ transplant
- Loss of hearing, speech, or vision
- Chronic respiratory disorders
- Heart failure
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Brain tumors
- Spinal disorders
- Mental, behavioral, and intellectual disorders
You will need to submit documentation of your condition with your SSD application, such as:
- Laboratory tests
- Diagnostic imaging
- Doctors’ notes
- Other medical records
If SSA finds your medical evidence insufficient, it might ask you to submit to a Consultative Examination (CE). During the CE, the doctor (who may be your treating physician) will perform a physical examination and review your labs and medical history. Failure to submit to a CE will likely result in the SSA denying your application.
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You Earn Too Much Income for SSD Benefits
SSA does not consider your condition a disability unless it prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). According to SSA, the monthly SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350 ($2,260 for blind individuals).
If you make more than the SGA level, SSA will deny your application. Furthermore, workers’ compensation and other benefits can count against your SGA and lead to reduced or denied benefits.
Supplying Inadequate or Incomplete Proof of Work History With Your SSD Application
SSA provides benefits via two separate disability programs — SSDI and SSI:
- SSI is strictly income- and needs-based
- To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned work credits
SSDI funding comes from workers’ contributions to the Social Security Insurance trust fund via taxes on their income. Therefore, you must have paid enough into the SSDI system to qualify for benefits. You must generally earn a minimum of 20 work credits during the previous 10 years.
To qualify for SSDI, you must supply SSA with your detailed work history, including W-2s and other tax documents. Failure to prove you have enough credits will lead to a denial of your claim.
Your Work History Can Affect Your SSDI Payments
SSDI benefits factor in your Social Security contributions. Thus, the higher your wage contribution, the higher your benefits may be. According to SSA, the average monthly SSDI payment was around $1,230 in 2019.
SSA sets SSI benefits based on the Consumer Price Index. For 2022, the rate is $841 for an individual and $1,261 per couple.
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Failing to Stay in Contact With SSA About Your SSD Claim
If SSA cannot reach you, it can affect your SSD claim. Therefore, you need to ensure the contact information on your application is correct and up to date. You must also reply to calls, letters, and emails from SSA, such as requests to submit to a CE. Fortunately, when you work with a lawyer with our firm, we can take care of this communication for you.
Waiting Too Long to File an SSD Claim or Appeal
Do not wait too long to submit your SSD application. Unfortunately, a delay in seeking benefits could give SSA reason to deny your claim. Also, remember that your work credits could expire, and you need a specific amount earned during the previous 10 years to qualify.
If SSA denied your initial application, you must file an appeal within 60 days of receiving notice of the decision. If you do not meet the appeal deadline, you might have to start over with a new application, which can needlessly complicate the process and delay your payments.
Work With Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to Avoid Issues With Your SSD Claim
A Social Security Disability attorney with Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help you avoid common mistakes that can ruin your SSD claim. We can represent you throughout the process of seeking SSD benefits or appeal a denied application. Call our offices today or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.