By Dennis Plank, Attorney
Suffering from a disabling injury or medical condition can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Not only must you deal with the effects of your disability, but also with the worry of how you are going to provide for yourself and your family if you are unable to work.
That’s where the Social Security Administration comes in, maintaining two programs to assist in these difficult times. Social Security Disability benefits are available to those who have worked a specified number of years and have paid Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits to those who have limited income and resources. In 2017, the Social Security Administration paid disability benefits to nearly 10.1 million people.
Unfortunately, more than half of all Social Security Disability claims are initially denied, adding even more emotional stress to an already challenging situation. Many of these denials are due to common mistakes made during the complicated filing process.
If you’re living in Lancaster County and your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, don’t panic. Our team at Going and Plank in downtown Lancaster can help you file an appeal, where your odds of getting a fair resolution increase substantially.
You must appeal a Social Security Disability claim within 60 days of the denial of your claim, so act quickly. We’re experienced in Social Security Disability claims, and can help you to assess your claim and improve your odds of winning an appeal, especially if you’ve made one of these common mistakes:
Mistake: You Missed Deadlines Related to Your Disability Claim
Submitting a Social Security Disability claim may be one of the most challenging government processes you will ever encounter. It requires an enormous amount of paperwork and documentation, and there are time limits associated with submission. You may receive notices in the mail requesting additional information in a very short amount of time. Failure to meet any of these deadlines can result in your disability claim being denied. The good news is you can request a review of your application if you had good cause for missing a deadline. Schedule a free consultation with Going and Plank to see if you have grounds to appeal.
Mistake: Your Application for Social Security Disability was Missing Information
The application for Social Security Disability benefits requires a great deal of information about you and your family, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that treated you and the dates of your visits. You’ll also need to provide the names and dosages of all medications, laboratory and test results, a work history, recent W-2 and more. Additionally, you will need Social Security numbers and proof of age for yourself and any family members who may qualify for benefits. If your application is missing any of this information, your claim can be denied. Contact us at Going and Plank in Lancaster to see if there is additional information you can submit to support your claim.
Mistake: Your Application Included Conflicting Information
It’s important to carefully review all the information on your application to ensure that details provided on one form do not conflict with those on another. If any statements you make conflict with the details you provide, your application could be denied. Perhaps you misspelled a doctor’s name. Or maybe your medical records are inconsistent with your description of your disability. Schedule a free consultation to see how you may be able to appeal your case with updated information.
Mistake: You Collected Unemployment After Filing a Disability Claim
If you’re concerned about supporting yourself and your family, you may be tempted to apply for unemployment to bridge the income gap while you wait for approval of your Social Security Disability claim. However, unemployment is reserved for people who are actively seeking a job. If you are receiving unemployment benefits, the Social Security Administration may deny your disability claim because you appear ready and able to work. There are, however, exceptions that allow you to collect both disability and unemployment benefits, especially if you are only capable of working in a limited capacity. Schedule a free consultation with our team if you think you may be entitled to both.
Mistake: You Continued Working Despite Medical Orders
It’s understandable that you may want to try to do some type of paid work to help make ends meet, even if it’s only a temporary, short-term solution. However, if you continue to work or take another job against medical orders, the Social Security Administration may assume you can earn a living and deny your disability benefits. After all, when you apply for disability benefits, you are essentially claiming that you are not capable of working. Applicants often underestimate the extent of their disability, but it is important that you understand and accept your limitations.
We can help you ensure those limitations are properly communicated upon appeal. We can also advise about the work incentive programs available that may allow you to work for a trial period while still receiving disability benefits.
If you believe your Social Security Disability claim has been denied unfairly, don’t delay. Contact us at Going and Plank. We’ll help you put your case together, gather evidence and prepare testimony. If your disability is due to a work-related illness or injury, you also may be entitled to workers’ compensation. We will work to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve. And there is no need to worry about the additional costs of retaining a disability claims attorney when you already have the financial stress of being out of work. At Going and Plank, our representation is available at no cost, unless we recover funds for you.