The decision to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits isn’t an easy one – and the process of actually obtaining those benefits can be even harder.
For the most part, applicants are in for a long wait. As of November 2022, the average wait for a decision on an initial claim was 204 days, which is about three months longer than it was just a few years ago. If you have to appeal your claim, the wait doubles. If you have to go to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you may be waiting another year and a half.
That makes it critically important to do everything you can to avoid a denial. The better you understand why claims get denied, the easier it will be to avoid problems. Here are some most common reasons SSD claims fail:
1. Your doctor isn’t supportive of your claim.
Most doctors won’t tell you to file for SSD, but they will respect your decision to file – but you want to discuss this with your primary care physician or specialists. Their support can actually influence SSA quite heavily since they know your condition better than anybody. Talk to your doctor before you file to gain their support.
2. You don’t comply with your doctor’s orders.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will scour your medical records for proof of your disability – but they’re also looking for justification to deny your claim. If you don’t comply with your doctor’s recommended treatment without good justification, that can be enough.
3. You didn’t respond to SSA’s requests for more information.
SSA may contact you several times during the claims process to obtain additional information. You may be asked to fill out additional paperwork that discusses your daily activities, your work history and your education. You may also need to fill out additional medical release forms in order for them to obtain all your documentation, or you may be asked to go to a consultative exam.
The reality is that the vast majority of disability claims do get denied, and that’s often because SSS is rushing through them. Presenting your information in the way it needs to be seen can take experience and skill, so don’t hesitate to seek help.