5 Social Security Disability Benefits – Avoid These Mistakes When Applying and Improve Your Chances for a Quick Approval!
Applying for your Social Security Disability benefits in Oregon can be a long, complicated, and frustrating process. It is often made worse by the fact that you are ill or injured, and so it is even more difficult to gather the necessary information you need to apply. While there is lots of advice about what you should do and how you should do it, we thought it would be important to offer advice about what mistakes are often made – mistakes that will slow the process of receiving your benefits considerably! These are the steps necessary to apply for Social Security Benefits:
1. APPLICATION: You must apply first; your APPLICATION consists of submitting all necessary paperwork and documentation required by the SSA (Social Security Administration).
2. RECONSIDERATION: Wait for a response. If you get a response, and it is a DENIAL – you can apply for a RECONSIDERATION – but you must do it within 60 days!
3. HEARING: If your request for a reconsideration is denied, you can then request a HEARING.
You will often hear that “no one is approved on their first application.” This may or may not be true, it depends on the nature of your disability and the medical evidence that substantiates it. It is, however, true that it may take all three steps to ultimately receive your Social Security Benefits, so it is best to plan and be prepared for this!
Mistake # 1: Not Providing Necessary Medical Evidence: In order to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits you must prove that you’re disabled, which means that you must prove that you are unable to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, at any job. You cannot simply say you are disabled, you must have proof. This means you must have medical evidence supplied by a physician or physicians who are treating you for the illness and/or disability you are suffering from. You should be seeing a medical provider for the disabling condition every 3 months, at a minimum. You must have your physician(s) fill out the necessary paperwork to verify your medical condition, in order to supply the SSA with documented proof of the disability you say you have. Not seeing your medical doctor, not providing this medical proof on an ongoing basis, and not filling out the documents necessary to submit with your application is one of the most common problems people have getting their Social Security benefits approved. Admittedly, this paperwork is difficult, but it must be done correctly and submitted in a timely manner.
MISTAKE # 2: If Denied for Benefits, You MUST APPEAL WITHIN 60 DAYS! If you are denied, you must appeal the denial, and you must do so within 60 days! If you miss that 60 day window, you will be back at square one, and you will have to begin the entire process over again, as if you had never applied at all. Keep in mind that if you have to go through the entire process – application, appeal for reconsideration if your application is denied, and request for a hearing if the reconsideration is denied, can take up to 18 months! If you miss that first 60 day deadline – you add on another 2 months to that process!
MISTAKE # 3: If Your Request Goes to a Hearing – Not Getting Representation For This Step!
When you have been denied twice, then you will need to go up before a judge in a court to argue for your Social Security Benefits in person. This can be a frightening proposition, and if you have done nothing to improve your application, it will not go well! Retaining an attorney to represent you means that your attorney will help you prepare your application and medical documentation, your attorney will prep you for the hearing, and your attorney will go with you to the hearing, to argue on your behalf! In a sense, your hearing is your last chance, (though you are able to start the entire process all over again), so you need it to go well! Some people mistakenly think that hiring an attorney for this process will cost them a great deal of money. This is not the case! By law, an attorney representing you for your Social Security Disability case receives nothing unless you win your disability case. When you win disability benefits, you will be granted a sum of money that is retroactive to the date you actually became disabled, and an attorney is only entitled to 25% of this amount, or $6000, whichever is least.
You should know that waiting for a hearing may take up to 18 months in Oregon! But you should also know that between 60% and 80% of applicants do receive their benefits at the hearing level, when they are represented by legal counsel!