Failure to Complete a Disability Application
When filing your disability application (either SSDI or SSI), you are asked to provide a lot of information all at once. This can be overwhelming for many people, especially when dealing with pain or other disruptive symptoms from your disability. It’s common to forget something on the application, which will probably, unfortunately, result in the denial of your application. In the initial application stage, application denials are common, with approval rates below 50% in nearly every state. You must appeal your application within 60 days to get your case reviewed by a new panel of representatives. Some sections of the application are commonly left unfinished by accident, so here are some sections to watch out for.
Your Work History
When you report your work history, the SSA uses it to evaluate your ability to perform work. You have to report any training or education that you earned throughout your life. This will be used to decide what kind of work you can do, as in the amount of labor you can put forward. If you can perform more than sedentary work, the SSA will look to see what kind of work you can still do. You must apply for medical-vocational allowance to show that you are eligible for benefits. To do so, you need to complete form SSA-3369. This will require you to show that you cannot continue work in your most recent employment field and, further, that you cannot work any other job.
The good news is that the SSA will only look at your employment in the last 15 years. In addition, they are only interested in what they consider substantial gainful activities, which are jobs that earn you a certain amount of money monthly. The substantial gainful activity is only considered if you worked it long enough to learn and understand the position. This narrows the employment that you have to report, but you must include anything that fits into these categories.
Your Medical Records
Because both programs under SSDI (SSDI and SSI) are based on your inability to work due to disability, reporting your complete medical record is extremely important. A common mistake is only reporting evidence of the symptoms themselves. Suppose your disability is based on pain. You need to report the appointment where you were diagnosed for that pain and all of the treatment and diagnostic material used in your case. If you have seen a doctor more than once or more than one doctor was involved in your care, all of those records need to be sent to the SSA. You may realize that your doctor(s) sent an incomplete report to the SSA, which is not your fault, but you will still experience the delay regardless. It will be best to contact an attorney to be able to understand what is missing and how to get it, plus how to interact with the people who have it and those that need it.
In a lot of cases, people aren’t able to afford the diagnostic tests that are required to create a complete medical history. This is especially true with SSDI since many people struggle to afford life without work or with limited financial resources. However, you should still report everything you have that proves your disability, even if it is small. According to Webb v. Barnhart of the 9th circuit, an administrative law judge cannot deny an application based on incomplete medical information, allowing you to supplement your case later. Contact a lawyer if you are struggling with providing a complete medical history because they will be able to set you up for success.
If you fail to complete these sections, your application will either be denied or sent back to you to finish. Either way, you will delay receiving your benefits, and that will be frustrating. Provide as much information as you can remember or that you can find evidence of to make sure that issues do not arise. If something happens and you don’t know how to fix it, or you don’t want to handle it alone, contact a lawyer who is trained in disability law. An attorney will help you learn exactly what the application requires and how to interact with the SSA throughout your case. Call us today to get the help you need.