The application process for disability and Social Security is tough enough, being denied disability only adds to the mess. You first have to more-or-less discover that you are not able to keep working. Then you have to state that you can’t work in a very deliberate way. You do this by applying for benefits directly to the Social Security Administration. If your family is involved in your support, you often have to teach them at the same time you are seeking help yourself.
Add to this, you have to do a lot of things to keep your claim alive.
Answering questions relating to your disability and challenges.
Timely returning mail.
Attending uncomfortable and sometimes hostile medical appointments.
If you’re lucky enough to have all your documentation lined up and a great support system, you may be one of the 30% that finds success on their initial claim for disability benefits. But if you’re like the majority of those that apply (and the majority of those that eventually get their claims approved) you’re likely to be denied disability and see a denial letter for your efforts.
We’ve covered several times in this blog, why a denial is not to be unexpected. And also why a denial for disability is something that you can beat.
The First Step in Beating a Denied Disability is Avoiding these Three VERY Common Mistakes.
Common Mistake #1: Waiting Too Long to File an Appeal for a Denied Disability
60 Days, not two months, or 6 weeks… 60 Days. That’s how long you have to file your appeal or to have someone file the appeal on your behalf. This can be challenging from the perspective of someone who just received their denial letter. You may wish to set the letter down and come back to it when you’ve collected yourself. Whatever you do, don’t wait 61 days. Remember that for better or worse, most people who eventually get social security were denied at one point.
Common Mistake #2: Filing a New Claim Instead of an Appeal
The idea and process of an appeal may sound challenging and complicated. You might be thinking that maybe the people at the Social Security Administration didn’t understand. Or perhaps, you feel you didn’t answer everything the “right way” at your medical appointments. If you’re unsure which is better, filing a new claim or filing an appeal. File an appeal, do not file a new claim. You’re throwing away months of support and you do not have a better chance the second time around than you had the first time.
Common Mistake #3: Going it Alone
The appeals system in Social Security is set up in such a way that it is very difficult for someone not familiar with advocating Social Security Law in front of a judge to be able to do so, effectively. It takes years of experience for Social Security attorneys to become proficient advocates for their clients. The best way to use your 60 days to file your appeal is to have a discussion with one or several attorneys within the first 15 days. The best attorneys will listen to you to understand your claim and explain to you, in simple terms, if and why it may be in your best interest to continue pursuing your claim.