Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be intimidating and time-consuming. Understanding how the system works can be the difference between winning or not winning your disability benefits. Disability Group reveals common Social Security disability myths and misconceptions.
Myth: The Social Security Administration denies everyone the first time they apply for disability.
This is absolutely not true! It is easy to see why people would believe this when over 70% of all first applications filed are denied. A claim requires a lot of paperwork, and claimants are often denied when they do not provided documents that the SSA disability reviewer has requested. A disability lawyer can be help you to prevent an unnecessary denial by staying on top of all requests from the SSA.
Myth: The Social Security Administration will deny you a certain number of times before you are approved.
Also not true! Many people simply file applications over and over again, hoping to be approved. If you continue to file and get denied at the first stage, you are denying yourself the right to an appeal and even more importantly, you are setting yourself at the back of the line again!
Make sure that you follow the appeals process up to the highest level in a timely manner, meeting all deadlines.
Myth: The best way to appeal a Social Security claim denial is to file a brand new application.
No! This is often the worst thing you can do because most initial applications are denied. A new application will most likely be denied for the same reason as the last. Historically, and statistically most claimants are awarded only after being heard by an administrative law judge. A claim will never get that far in the process if you just file a new application. Follow the appeals process and find representation.
Myth: Certain medical conditions or mental health problems can get you automatically approved for benefits.
No . . . . and yes. Certain impairments are singled out. If you meet an SSA listing it is easier to get approved, but not automatic. All claims are evaluated according to medical evidence. See the list of the categories of impairments that meet the SSA listing here: http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com/qualify/
Make sure to get regular medical treatment during your claim documents your condition for a better chance of obtaining benefits. If you have irregular doctor visits and little medical evidence, your chances for approval of disability benefits is greatly reduced.
Myth: You cannot get Social Security Disability if you have used drugs or alcohol.
Not true. Every case is different but you have a better chance of obtaining benefits if you have maintained at least six month of sobriety. How often and how recent you used is most important. Simply put, Social Security will not pay benefits to someone who caused their condition or made it worse by drug or alcohol use. If quitting would improve your condition, it is relevant and you will not win.
If you have a history of abuse but are not currently using substances you should carefully review your medical records before filing for disability. Doctors and mental health professionals will often indicate “suspected use” in their treatment notes. Such indications can have a damaging effect on a disability case.
While there are many myths about the Social Security claim process that are untrue, the process does include a fair amount of rules, regulations, and paperwork that a social security attorney is better suited to deal with.