If you have a condition that prevents you from working like you need to, you can apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may think you have a good chance of getting approved, but only around 35% get approved for disability benefits on the first try. That means around 65% of applicants have to go through the appeals process. Here are three things to avoid that can get your disability claim denied.
1. You don't submit enough medical documentation.
The biggest part of your disability claim is proving you are disabled and unable to work. The only way you can do that is by submitting medical records. There is no such thing as too much when it comes to medical records related to your condition. Also, they want medical records from within the past six months so they know you still suffer from the condition. You can still submit older records with the more recent ones to help the SSA see how long you have suffered or how the condition has gotten worse.
If you don't want your claim to be denied, be sure to send all of the relevant medical records you have. If you haven't seen a doctor within the past six months, you need to do that before submitting your disability benefits application.
2. You make too much money.
Another thing that can get your disability benefits denied is if you earn too much income. While it is common knowledge that you can't earn very much additional income after you start receiving benefits, not many realize that the same rules apply at the time of your application.
Currently, the amount of money you can earn each month and still be eligible for disability benefits is $1,090 if you aren't blind and $1,820 if you are. This is called substantial gainful activity (SGA), and the SSA takes it very seriously. If you make over that amount when you apply, then they will determine that you can still work full-time and deny your disability claim.
In order to make sure your income doesn't get you denied for disability benefits, cut back your hours to where you are only working part-time. If that is not feasible in your current job, you will have to find a job that enables you to earn an income that doesn't exceed the SGA.
3. You don't follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor.
Treatment non-compliance is something else that can cause your disability claim to be denied. If the SSA looks at your medical records and sees that your doctor prescribed treatment that would have kept you from being disabled, they won't approve you for disability benefits.
Of course, there are some valid reasons for not going along with certain treatment options that the SSA will accept. Some valid excuses the SSA accepts include:
- The treatment costs too much money.
- The treatment violates your religious beliefs.
- The treatment involves amputation.
- The treatment involves extremely risky surgery.
That is just a sample of what the SSA considers to be valid reasons for not following your doctor's treatment plan. You can contact the SSA to find out other valid reasons they accept for not complying with treatment.
If you haven't followed your doctor's treatment plan, you need to be sure you submit documentation to prove your excuse. Doing so can help you avoid having your claim denied based on treatment non-compliance. For example, if you say a treatment violates your religious beliefs, you need to submit a signed letter from a leader of your church that explains how the treatment goes against the church's by-laws or articles of faith.
It is important to understand that having your disability claim denied isn't the end of the road for getting benefits. You can appeal the denial—either on your own or with the help of an attorney who is experienced in fighting for disability benefits for their clients (like those at Gieg Law Offices).