Applying For Social Security Disability? Avoid A Denial With These 3 Application Tips

2 November 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog


You've probably heard that the denial rate for Social Security Disability applicants is high. In fact, the denial rate for initial claims is about 65%. This is both good news and bad news. The good news is that a denial doesn't mean that you should panic, or give up. It's pretty normal, and you can still get approved at some point during the appeals process. The bad news is that once you get a denial, you have to take the extra time to go through the appeals process before you get any benefits. If you want to get your benefits sooner, it can help to make sure that your application is as thorough and accurate as possible the first time. Take a look at some Social Security Disability application tips that may help you avoid a denial.

List the Correct Disability Date

One important question you'll be asked on the Social Security Disability application form is the date that you became disabled. It's not a trick question, but it's still easy to get wrong if you don't approach it correctly.

Your disability date is probably not going to be the date that you received the diagnosis, though that's a common mistake. One of the first things that the Social Security administration will look at to determine if you're eligible for disability is whether or not you're earning money. If you are earning more than $1170 a month (or $1950 for blind applicants), you won't qualify for benefits, regardless of your diagnosis. Usually, applicants must stop working to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Most likely, the correct date to list as your disability date is the day after your last day at work. Before that day, you'd have been earning an income and probably wouldn't qualify for benefits.

Be Specific in Your Answers

It's always a good idea to give as much detail as you can in your answers on the Social Security Disability application. Don't just say that you can't work because of your condition – if your condition lands you in the hospital several times a month, say that. If your condition makes it impossible for you to stand for long periods, make sure to mention it.

The same applies when describing your job duties in your past employment. Don't just say that you were a restaurant server, describe how many hours you were required to walk and stand on your feet for your job. Describe how your condition impacted your ability to perform these job duties.

The more detail you give, the better picture the Social Security Administration can form of your life since becoming disabled. Don't assume that it's obvious that someone with your condition could not continue to work. Spell out the difficulties you've experienced.

List All Conditions, Not Just the Most Serious One

It's easy to think that it's your most serious health condition that will be most likely to get you approved for disability benefits. But if you have multiple health conditions, you shouldn't focus on only one. Make sure to list all of your conditions, and explain how the various symptoms of each impact your daily life and ability to work.

What you may not realize is that co-occurring conditions can bolster your claim. The combination of symptoms and treatments for different conditions can often impact your life more than one single condition could on its own – even a serious condition. Making sure to list all the conditions that are affecting your health and ability to work, not just the one you think will most likely qualify you for disability benefits, could end up being the key to being approved.

If you do get denied, or if you need help with the application or appeals process, hiring a Social Security Disability attorney can increase your chances of being approved. Social Security Disability lawyers are familiar with the process and can use their knowledge to help you successfully collect the disability benefits you deserve. For more information, visit websites like