Do’s and Don’ts

January 1, 2011

Do's and Don'ts for Social Security Disability Claimants

Here are actions you can take and actions you can avoid that will increase your chances of being awarded Social Security disability benefits and reduce the risk of being denied.

Do's:

  • DO keep copies of everything you receive from the Social Security Administration.
  • DO keep copies of everything you send to the Social Security Administration.
  • DO apply for disability benefits within six to nine months after the time you become unable to work.
  • DO keep detailed records of all doctor and hospital visits and record the information of all the medical facilities where you have received care.
  • DO keep seeing your doctor(s) regularly, and inform your doctor(s) that you are applying for disability benefits, and ask if they will support your claim.
  • DO follow through with all medication and treatment prescribed for your conditions.
  • DO file your appeal within 60 days of any denial of your claim for benefits.
  • DO return the comment forms the Social Security Administration sends you after you have been evaluated by one of their doctors, and indicate any abnormalities in the evaluation, such as the length of the evaluation or the lack thereof.
  • DO be patient. Don't expect Social Security employees to make a decision within a few weeks of your initial application or appeal. The Social Security disability process can be very slow. While your disability attorney can do many things to help you win Social Security benefits, there is nothing he or she can do to speed the process up.
  • DO contact a disability attorney if you are denied at any point in the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits.
  • DO contact us or another experienced disability representative with questions or for assistance regarding your claim for disability benefits.

Don'ts:

  • DON'T assume that you aren't eligible for Social Security disability benefits or SSI. You may be eligible even if you think you're not.
  • DON'T ignore your doctors' advice.
  • DON'T miss appointments with your local Social Security office or your doctors unless you have no choice, as this will only lengthen the process.
  • DON'T refuse attention, testing, or treatment from a specialist. Such a refusal could hurt your claim and cause you to be denied.
  • DON'T assume the Social Security Administration will obtain all of your medical records, treatment information, and information about your symptoms. An experienced disability lawyer can assist with this.
  • DON'T treat Social Security employees rudely or abusively. If you are being mistreated by a Social Security employee ask for the manager and explain the situation.
  • DON'T give up if your disability claim is not approved. If it is denied, file an appeal immediately. Your chances of success improve greatly if you appeal your denial. Over half of Social Security disability applicants and applicants across the country who appeal are ultimately awarded disability benefits.
  • DON'T miss a 60-day deadline on an appeal as you may need to re-file an application and potentially lose benefits you may otherwise have been entitled to receive.
  • DON'T trust your future to the Social Security Administration. Consult us or another experienced disability lawyer to get additional information as to how you can qualify for Social Security disability or SSI benefits, even if the Social Security Administration informed you that you do not qualify.

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