An Ounce of Prevention
Filing for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits is an intense process that requires reams of documents and forms, statements from doctors and employers, and sometimes seemingly endless reviews; for a lucky few, it is a “walk in the park.” If your case is complex or the paperwork is confusing, or if you have been denied a benefit claim, expert legal help – like we give our clients – is a necessity.
Our Federal government is incredibly large and often seems completely unable to pay attention to its own business. Don’t be fooled, though, because there are certain things they watch like a hawk, and Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income are two of them. With budgets tightening in all areas, what might have been ignored before may now come under “the microscope.”
The most careful of us can make a mistake and even a tiny one can result in long delays, appointments with reviewers, payments being withheld and, worst of all, outright denials of claims. Claim denials are common and simple mistakes are often the cause, so, if you are unsure about anything in your forms, it’s best to get help.
The problem is that, no matter how careful you are, an incorrect Social Security Disability application could be interpreted as an attempt to dishonestly get benefits. Getting off on the wrong foot with your examiner can cause problems for you that are difficult to get past.
The advice below might seem overly simple, but we must stress how important accuracy and completeness is on the forms. Here are some simple yet important things our attorneys tell their clients to remember when filing for benefits:
- When filling out the forms – and there are a lot of them – take your time. Simple mistakes on a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income form can cause long delays or an outright denial of claims which means a review and more paperwork. (We’re here if you need help.)
- Don’t try to do them all at once and fire them off – take your time. When you think you are done, put them away for a night and examine them the next day. You’ll be surprised at the number of things you catch in your review.
- Before you start, gather all necessary documents. Gather ones you might think are not necessary just in case. Organize them in folders by provider or source. For instance, have a folder for each doctor, one for your employer, one for government letters, etc.
- Be a friend to your doctors: Call their offices to let their staff know that you are filing before you request their help in writing. Let them know what aspect of your disability qualifies you for benefits so that they can be thinking about how to organize your request. Explain that you will need copies of records pertaining to this and ask if they charge for the copies; if so, ask what those charges are. Let them know that your request will be there in the coming days. This can go a long way to getting their cooperation should follow-up be necessary.
- Above all, be honest in what you say. State clearly what the conditions are without overstating them – say it in your doctor’s terms if you can. One rule is to only say what you can prove.
Even if you decide to go it alone in filing, a review by one of our Social Security experts is a good idea. Attorneys in our office work with clients to help them file for and get all the benefits for which they are eligible. They know about the Social Security system and what to do in case of a denial of your claim. We invite you to call for your appointment with one of our attorneys so that we can get started helping you get on the road back to a better life.