Mistakes people make when applying for Social Security disability

When someone is considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, the first mistake he or she may make is not consulting with a lawyer.

Social Security disability benefits help many people in Minnesota stay afloat and pay the bills. Unfortunately, the process is not always smooth. In fact, quite a few people say it is frustrating and that there are things they wish they had known about beforehand. Here is a look at some common mistakes that applicants make.

Not using an attorney

Ideally, the default would be that a SSD claim is approved. In fact, most first-time applications are denied, and the appeal odds are not that great, either. The best way that someone can boost their odds of approval is to use an attorney. These professionals should already be familiar with Social Security law and what applications require. There can be different criteria for qualifying for certain benefits, and an attorney can tell applicants early on if they are likely or unlikely to qualify. They help the process go much more smoothly, and applicants need not shell out money up front. In fact, many attorneys charge fees only if a claim is successful.

Using an attorney may be even more important now that various Social Security programs, including SSD, are potentially facing huge cuts.

Getting on unemployment

While it is not an absolute, 100 percent mistake for someone to apply for unemployment benefits at the same time as SSD, it often is-enough so that it is a rule of thumb to not apply for or begin unemployment benefits while also waiting on a SSD claim. This is because unemployment benefits are for people who are able to work but who cannot find work. On the other hand, SSD is for people who claim to be physically or mentally unfit for serious amounts of work activity. When someone applies for unemployment benefits, he or she undermines the SSD claim because it could be that he or she is actually physically able to work.

An attorney can help potential claimants determine if it is safe to apply for both programs.

Ignoring doctors' recommendations or treatments

SSD applicants should make every reasonable effort to restore their physical and/or mental health. Thus, if an applicant ignores a doctor's advice or treatment plan, the Social Security Administration could decide that the applicant would have been fine if only the treatment had been followed-and then deny a claim. So, applicants should take their medications and attend follow-up appointments with physical therapists and the like. If there is a situation such as the side effect of a medication being worse than what the medication treats, a doctor should ideally document that before the applicant stops taking the medication.

There are other mistakes that people in Minnesota make when applying for SSD, but the three above are among the most common. Consulting with an attorney can help applicants determine whether their claim is likely to be successful.