If you suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Each year, millions of people apply for disability benefits, but only around 30 percent of applicants are actually approved during the initial review period. There are many reasons why a disability claim could be denied, and it is important to be aware of them so that you can limit the chances that your Social Security benefits claim will be turned down.
One of the keys to filing a disability claim successfully is having solid medical evidence to back up your condition and its severity. Without medical proof, it will be difficult to show that you are unable to work. You must be able to provide medical records that demonstrate your disability and how it interferes with your ability to perform work.
This last part is critical. You may have attended numerous appointments with your physician, but if they have not documented the effect a condition has on your daily functioning and ability to perform tasks, there is grounds for a claim’s denial. To ensure your claim has a high probability for acceptance, it is critical that you discuss with your healthcare provider the impact that your disability has on your daily life and that it is documented in your patient chart.
Additionally, if you are forced to miss work or begin a modified work schedule due to your disability, it will be important to have medical records documenting these absences and the reasons they occurred. These documents will help demonstrate the severity of your condition.
Following Up and Completing Treatment
While having evidence regarding your disability is critical, it is equally important to follow through with any treatments prescribed by your physician. Failure to comply with medical treatments and recommendations will significantly increase the chance your claim is denied.
The reason this is the case is because the Social Security Administration wants to be able to see whether or not your disability is treatable and to assess if you are truly unable to work or if you are simply not compliant with your medical professional’s orders.
While Social Security benefits do not put a limit on the amount of income you can be currently receiving, your disability claim could be affected if you are already receiving Supplemental Security Income. If you are currently working and earning more than $910 per month in addition to your Supplemental Security Income, there is a good chance your claim will be denied as this proves your ability to continue to work.
Filing an Appeal vs. a New Claim
If you are turned down one time, many people think that the best option is simply to file a second claim. However, it is actually better to appeal your claim and to provide further evidence to support your disability. If the person reviewing your claim sees that you’ve been denied in the past, they may be more likely to deny you again. However, appealing your claim demonstrates that you are willing to put in the extra work to go through the process.
Cooperation is another critical piece during the application and appeals process. No matter the outcome and decisions being made on your behalf, it is important that you approach each encounter with full cooperation. Whether you must attend doctor’s appointments, visit the Social Security office, or submit documentation by a specific deadline, you must be prompt.
The Appeals Process
Even with an initial denial, there is a comprehensive appeals process, allowing you to support your case with new information. If you are able to make it farther in the appeals process, you will have the opportunity to present your case to a judge. Those making it to this stage of the appeals process have an average success rate of 62 percent.
However, even after appeals, only a total of about 45 percent of claims are accepted. Because of the low rates, it is critical to know all the requirements to ensure you have a solid case backing your disability claim.