Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits? Avoid these 5 mistakes


If you are unable to work because of a disability, you can receive monthly social security benefits until you are able to consistently work again. However, because of common and avoidable mistakes, 60% of initial social security disability benefits applications are denied. 

While the Social Security Administration pays benefits to individuals unable to work because of their disability, there are several tiers of qualifications recipients must meet before they can receive benefits. 

In order to qualify for social security disability benefits, you must have both: 

  • Worked a job covered by Social Security, and 
  • Have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. 

If these two initial qualifications are met, you must also have: 

  • Monthly income of less than $1,350 ($2,260 for blind individuals) 
  • A severe disability that limits ability to perform work-related activities such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. 
  • Have an inability to perform past work or different work because of your condition. 

Navigating the benefits application, figuring out qualifications and how to best explain them, and submitting the proper forms is a complicated and time-consuming process where small mistakes can cost you your benefits. 

Georgia social security disability lawyers can help you navigate this system and submit your information accurately and quickly so you can receive your benefits in a timely manner. We’ve listed some common mistakes to avoid that will help your application be accepted on the first try. 

The 5 Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Not giving enough information in your application
  • Providing contradictory information
  • Applying at the wrong time
  • Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Missing deadlines

Mistake 1: Providing insufficient information in your application

Your initial application is your best opportunity to tell the SSA your story and clarify your disabilities. Covering all of your bases and fully explaining your story demonstrates your need to the SSA, so your application should provide a comprehensive illustration of your disability. 

Georgia social security disability lawyers have a wealth of experience assisting individuals prepare their applications for social security disability benefits. Using their services improve your chances of having your application accepted, as they know exactly who the SSA has approved for benefits in the past. 

The SSA will use your provided information to collect your medical records, so you should be exhaustive when you list your conditions, providers, and anyone you’ve consulted with over the years. Omitting any information could hurt your case, so make sure you’ve listed all relevant information. 

Often when the SSA finds provided information to be inadequate to determine need for disability benefits, they will recommend you go through a consultative exam. The exam can further complicate your situation and rarely provides adequate evidence to prove disability. Providing as much information as possible upfront will help prevent you from having to go through a consultative exam. 

Mistake 2: Providing contradictory information

You will have to fill out multiple forms as part of your application for social security benefits. Two of these forms, the Adult Disability Report (SSA-3368-BK) and the Work History Report (SSA-3369-BK) require meticulous descriptions of your work experience and how you functioned in the job with your disability. 

Since the forms are so detailed, be sure to explain your story clearly and in a way that supports your needs. Georgia social security disability lawyers know the best way to explain your work history in a way that conveys your experience and illustrates your need for social security benefits. 

Mobility Scooter for disabled

Never exaggerate to sell your story, and it’s not recommended that you share qualitative details. Rather, your information should show how your disability has impacted your work life. 

Georgia social security disability lawyers know what the SSA is looking for in these forms, and can share their expectations with you so that you can adhere to them. 

Mistake 3: Applying at the wrong time

Timing is a crucial part of applying for disability benefits. There are many factors to consider when submitting your application. 

Since you are seeking to prove that you can’t work with your disability, filing while you are working will often lead to rejection of your application. In addition, the SSA will only provide benefits for disabled persons affected for over 12 months. You need to be able to prove your disability has been long-term or permanent, meaning filing too soon after you’ve stopped working could hurt your chances at approval.

If you are directed to a medical examination, the doctor could say that your disability could improve. With a longer history showing that you’re disabled, you’ll have more of a chance of your paperwork being accepted. 

Don’t wait too long to file for disability benefits, as the SSA only pays for 12 months of retroactive benefits. If you don’t time your application right, you could lose out on some of your payments. 

Consulting with Georgia social security disability lawyers on timing will ensure you file at the right time to receive your maximum benefits. 

Mistake 4: Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions 

Since the SSA is reviewing your medical history, it can deny your claim if you haven’t followed the medical plan your doctors have created for you. If you have missed appointments, neglected physical therapy, or abstained from prescribed medications, the SSA can deny your claim. 

There is often an important reason why you have been unable to adhere to your medical plan. If you have missed some aspect of your treatment, Georgia social security disability lawyers can assist in filling in the gaps where applicable to make sure your claim is approved. 

Mistake 5: Missing deadlines

There is, unfortunately, a large volume of paperwork and bureaucracy involved with receiving social security disability benefits. From the variety of forms, to the detail necessary to adequately fill them out, you will need a lot of time to fill out your information, request supporting documents, and acquire your medical history. 

After you’ve filed, examiners will often contact you for additional information. This information is often required to be provided within a short time frame, usually two weeks or less. Such short deadlines can be stressful and difficult to meet. You can file an extension if you need some extra time. 

By securing the expertise of Georgia social security disability lawyers, you can ensure your paperwork is approved the first time.