Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance can be a lengthy and complicated process, even when you do everything right. Just as an example, typical times for an SSDI hearing extend to about a year and a half in Missouri. Many people also end up making one or more mistakes that further delay benefits and add difficulties along the way.
While no one can guarantee you a quick, desirable outcome, working with qualified attorneys can help you avoid errors and increase your chances of getting the benefits you need.
One major mistake people make is assuming Social Security means the same thing they do when it uses common-sounding terms. However, SSA has very specific definitions it uses when assessing applications and making its decisions.
Most importantly, you cannot work more than a little bit and still qualify for SSDI. While many think this means they cannot do the job they have had their entire lives or cannot keep permanent or full-time employment, to SSA it means earning less than the specific amounts per month that it sets each year. If you have spent your entire life doing manual labor and you are less than 50 years old, SSA will still want to know why your disability prevents you from having a desk job. Telling them you have no idea how to do a desk job will not be enough. However, the rules are easier for people 50 and older who have only done physical work.
Giving up too soon
Another mistake is missing deadlines, especially when it comes to an appeal. Fully two-thirds of SSDI applicants face denial their first time around and must appeal if they want a chance to receive their benefits. The deadline to appeal is usually 60 days from the date on the denial letter plus a five day grace period for mailing.
On a related topic, do not make the mistake of giving up. The process is long and difficult, but a denial also does not mean that you lost your chance.
Failing to keep up with medical treatments
It can be hard to keep up with necessary medical treatments. However, you need to make serious effort to do so – not just for the sake of your health, but also because you may not get the medical documentation you need if you neglect your treatment. This means consistently going to appointments, filling prescriptions and generally complying with your doctor’s instructions.