Waiting too long to apply. Because the claims process can be lengthy, waiting to apply could put undue financial stress on you and loved ones. Also you could miss out on back benefits you would be owed once your claim is approved.
As soon as it has been determined that you will be unable to work for more than 12 months you need to apply for benefits immediately.
Even if you are still working but unable to earn a gainful income, you should get a lawyer or advocate to review your case to see if you could qualify for benefits.
Waiting too long or failing to appeal. Because, statistically speaking, pursuing the claim through the entire appeals process you stand a good chance of eventually being approved. Some matters with Social Security are time sensitive and need to be addressed quickly. Appeals, for example, must be filed within 60 days of a denial. Missing that time period can lead to a loss of benefits.
Filing the first appeal will get the case processed as a request for reconsideration. Most reconsideration appeals are denied; however, after a claim is denied at the reconsideration level, a claimant will be allowed to file a request for a disability hearing. We see the highest success rate at disability hearing level.
Using illegal drugs or alcohol. If you are doing so, it may be a factor causing your disability. Although the laws have changed in resent years, if you are abusing drugs or alcohol you face an uphill battle to get a successful benefit claim.
The best course of action is to stop using drugs and alcohol. Claims examiners and judges will be more likely to approve your case.
Filing for unemployment benefits.This may seem like a no-brainer since you affirm that you are capable of working when you file for unemployment, yet you affirm to Social Security that you cannot. Waiting for your benefit claim to come through can be long and cause a financial burden.
However, filing for unemployment benefits is not an option for those who are truly disabled.
Your statements to the SSA, your doctors and legal representative should be consistent. Social Security’s decision makers will be looking at these statements. Be truthful, and consistent. Make your doctors aware of all your health concerns.
We suggest keeping a log of all medical visits. Include all the treatments suggested by the doctor and what procedures you received. Keep a personal journal of what you experience, because no one knows better than you what you are going through. Thus, log your symptoms daily and what you do to control your symptoms. This will help your doctor have a better feel for your medical problems.
Not hiring representation. Way too often we see many claims drag on needlessly due to simple things, like not filing an appeal on time, not returning paperwork, incomplete paperwork, or lack of medical evidence. Having representation will remedy these simple, yet harmful mistakes.
Even if you do not use a Utah disability lawyer or advocate at any time during the initial disability claim process, or during the reconsideration appeal, there is no doubt you need a representative for your disability hearing before an administrative law judge. The judges will expect you to understand all relevant issues for your case.
Matt Nielson, Utah Social Security Disability Lawyer