Nearly 9 million people were paid disability benefits in 2022 alone with an average payment of approximately $1,483 a month, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Depending on their circumstances, receiving a denied SSD application for these benefits can be overwhelming for any disabled worker or beneficiary.
Below is an overview of various mistakes to avoid when working on or submitting an SSD application to boost your chances of receiving an approval instead of a rejection. Contact Ascend Disability for help navigating this process.
Submitting an Inaccurate or Incomplete SSD Application
It may seem unrealistic, but there is an alarming number of applications that are denied simply because the application was either inaccurate or incomplete. Take the time to review your responses carefully and cautiously. You will likely need to do a little research, especially regarding your medical history, work history, or the timeline of events related to your injury.
Doing so will help you to ensure that every response is accurate, which will boost your chances of being approved.
Assuming a Lengthy Disability Without Consulting a Doctor
One of the biggest mistakes is to presume that your disability will last at least 12 months without getting confirmation from your doctor. Unless you are a blind applicant, the SSA must be able to conclude that your disability is severe enough to last at least one full year or lead to your death.
For example, a typical bone fracture will heal within 4-6 months, which explains why a related application for SSD benefits may be denied. However, the SSA is likely to reconsider if you have passed the 6-month mark since your injury and the fracture is still not yet healed. It is best to have a confirmed and well-documented prognosis from a licensed healthcare professional before applying for benefits.
Not Following Prescribed Therapy Protocols
You could also put your SSD benefits application at risk of denial if you can follow the therapy protocols prescribed by your doctor but refuse or fail to do so. Certain acceptable medical and nonmedical excuses prove to be exceptions to this rule.
For instance, an intense and verified fear related to the protocol, a physical impairment that prevents you from completing the therapy without any assistance, or a lack of the financial means needed to pay for the treatment are all acceptable excuses.
Simply attending your therapy sessions does not necessarily mean that you are complying with the therapy protocols. For instance, if you decide to modify or even ignore the steps you have been ordered to take between sessions, this can lead to a denial of benefits as well.
Ignoring the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Factor
Your income amount can also play a key role in the approval or denial of your SSD benefit application. The SSA focuses on what is known as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) when determining if you make too much money to qualify for benefits.
- “Substantial” Work: Your work is substantial if it involves a considerable amount of mental activity, physical activity, or both.
- “Gainful” Activity: This means that your work is at least intended to receive pay or profit – whether you make a considerable amount or not.
This factor does not consider any income generated from investment income; just work income. If an application earns more than a specified amount through productive work, then this SGA factor could lead to a rejected application. For instance, the income limit for nonblind people in 2023 was $1,470 per month adjusted annually.
Overlooking the Option to Appeal
Even if you are denied SSD benefits, you can still apply for an appeal. The appeals process has led to a significant number of denied claims being approved. To start the appeal process, you must submit a formal request for reconsideration.
Do not assume that you are out of options if this request is denied as well. There is still the option of requesting a formal hearing in front of an administrative law judge or even a review conducted by the Appeals Council if you do not agree with the judge’s decision.
If none of those steps work, there is still a chance that you can have the decision reversed through a federal district court action from the US District Court. The bottom line is that you should do the research needed to explore all the options available to improve your chances of qualifying for SSD benefits even if your path has been blocked by multiple denials.
Get Help With Your Disability Application
The process of applying for Social Security Disability is confusing and often overwhelming. Avoiding common mistakes during the SSD application process is essential to increase your chances of a successful claim.