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SSD Mistakes: Why Social Security Disability Claims are Denied and how to Appeal

Filing for a social security disability (SSD) claim can be a long and complicated process. It can be challenging to track and document financial and medical situations. Many people are confused by the requirements for doctor appointments, paperwork, and detailed medical requests. Even the most organized filers can inadvertently make mistakes that lead to a denial of SSD benefits.

If you’re getting ready to file a social security disability claim, or if your claim has been denied, this blog may help you understand why some denials happen.

If the Social Security Administration has denied your claim, it’s important to file an appeal quickly. Dennis Plank, an attorney, and partner in Going and Plank with over 30 years of legal experience in Lancaster County may be able to help you fight social security disability denials. Mr. Plank shares his list of some common mistakes that sometimes result in denied claims, and explains what to do to improve your odds of winning an appeal.

SSD Claims: Common Mistakes, Effective Remedies

by Dennis Plank, Attorney

Dennis-Plank-Lancaster-County-Attorney-PAApplying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be one of the most challenging government applications you ever encounter. In addition to requiring an enormous amount of paperwork, doctor appointments, and documentation, fraud is a perceived issue in disability claims. That means that the Social Security Administration is especially vigilant, and pays close attention to the details of every application. To make it even more complicated, the claims approval process allows government employees to factor personal opinions into their decisions. The result is that over 70% of Social Security Disability claims are denied. But don’t get discouraged. Many of these denials can be appealed and overturned with the help of a competent attorney experienced with social security disability claims.

If you’re filing for social security disability benefits, or if you’ve recently been denied, take a look at these common mistakes.

Mistake: Not Following Your Doctor’s Orders

If you’ve filed for a social security disability claim in Pennsylvania, it is important to see a doctor, and follow their advice to the letter. Take extra care to schedule and attend follow up appointments. Make sure you carefully follow advice for physical activity, diet, and take any prescription medicines that have been prescribed.

If you find that you have concerns about your doctor’s recommendations, or if you’re unsure about your physical, mental, or financial ability to follow your doctor’s medical advice, voice your concern with your doctor upfront.

If you encounter challenges with your doctor’s advice after you leave the appointment, promptly call the doctor’s office to let them know that you’re having issues with medication, diet, or physical activity regimens.

Finally, If you don’t keep appointments or follow medical advice for treatment, it can affect your claim. The Social Security Administration in Pennsylvania may perceive this as refusing to improve your medical situation.

SSD Mistake: Continuing to Work Against Medical Orders

Many of us in Lancaster County have a hard time making ends meet without a steady income. That’s why some people who are no longer able to do their job due to a disability still try to find some type of paid work despite medical orders. Others accept a position that provides short-term income but isn’t a long-term solution because of their disability.

If you continue to work or take another job, even if you can’t keep that job long-term, the Social Security Administration may assume that you can earn a living and can deny your benefits as a result.


SSD Mistake: Using Illegal Drugs or Abusing Alcohol

The Social Security Administration can deny claims if they believe that drug use or alcohol abuse a significant factor in your disability. Misuse of drugs and alcohol also reduces your credibility as a witness and make the determination process difficult. Additionally, drug and alcohol abuse are not considered eligible disabilities for SSD.

SSD Mistake: Collecting Unemployment

SSD applicants may need help paying their bills while they wait for an SSD claim approval. Some apply for unemployment as a way to bridge the income gap. However, unemployment is reserved for people who are actively job-seeking. That’s why the Social Security Administration sometimes denies claims to those who collect unemployment. If the applicant is receiving unemployment benefits, the Social Security Administration may assume that the recipient is ready and able to work.

Social Security Disability Claim Mistake: Missing Deadlines

There are time limits on many activities and applications including when to send a document, how long you have to appeal a decision, and timeframes for requesting a hearing. You could risk losing benefits if you miss deadlines on any of these activities.

Mistake: Making an SSD Appeal Without a Lawyer

While the Social Security Administration may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer to appeal a claim, many people fail in appeals because they didn’t understand the process, missed a deadline, made mistakes on paperwork, or allow their application to languish in approval.

At Going and Plank, we’ll assess your claim, let you know if you have a chance at overturning the decision, make sure you’ve met all requirements, and coach you for your appeals hearing. And if we take on your case, you won’t be billed until you receive your disability benefits.


If you’re serious about appealing your Social Security Disability denial, act quickly. There?s a 60-day limit on appeals. Contact us  Today to schedule your free consultation.

Want to find out more about Social Security Disability and denied claims? Read these articles and blogs:

Don?t Give up: tips for Fighting Denied Social Security Disability Claims

Denied Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability Mistakes

Or click here to discover an even wider range of legal topics in our legal blog.

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