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Social Security Disability Benefits  Common Mistakes in Applying for Benefits I

Social Security Disability Benefits  Common Mistakes in Applying for Benefits I

Every day people throughout Alabama and Tennessee file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and over 70% of these applications will be summarily denied.  If you have been denied disability benefits, it really is in your best interest to hire an experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer to help you with your appeal, but in this blog I wanted to write about things you can do during your initial application that might help you get awarded Social Security Disability benefits without having to go through an appeal.


1) Include all of your medical problems: This might seem obvious, but in my experience a large percentage of persons seeking disability benefits understandably focus on the one or two main problems they are dealing with, thinking a diagnosis alone will be sufficient.  This is rarely the case.  While it is true that the Administration has set forth many conditions (classified as Compassionate Allowances) where, if the person has a diagnosis of a specific disease, a finding of disabled is almost guaranteed, no diagnosis in and of itself promises a quick finding in your favor.  The reason for this is that the Administration is more interested in how your medical problem(s) affect you than in what it is called.  Cystic fibrosis is a horrible condition which will eventually kill the person who has the condition, but that does not mean that at the outset of the condition they are entitled to disability benefits.  A diagnosis of cancer can chill the most hardened heart-but the diagnosis alone does not mean you cannot maintain steady employment.    The effect of the condition on your ability to perform substantial gainful activity in a consistent manner is what the Social Security Administration is looking at.  With this in mind, it is imperative to include all medical problems you are dealing with during your initial application.

(a) The biggest example of medical problems people who are seeking disability benefits forget to mention I can think of is the side-effects of the medication you are taking for your medical problems.  We have won cases where a client was in a “damned if you do-damned if you don’t” situation.  They had serious medical problems that required the use of medication to ease their symptoms, but the side effects of their medication would prevent them from being able to maintain steady employment.  If you do not inform the Social Security Administration that your medications cause serious side-effects, they will assume that you have none.

(b) The second most common medical problem I see that is left off of applications for Social Security Disability benefits are mental problems, such as depression and anxiety that are tied in with the applicant’s disability condition(s).  I really see this more of an issue with my male clients.  Many men just refuse to admit that they are suffering depression over their inability to continue working to provide for their family and the anxiety this reality causes them.  I always question my clients on depression and anxiety.  If I am told that they don’t really have problems with this, I push them on the issue.  Often it is their spouse who starts explaining how depression is an problem-and I tell my clients that it would be strange if they did not have depression and anxiety related to being so ill that they could no longer work.  It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you are struggling with anxiety and depression, especially if due to a medical condition you are no longer able to maintain steady employment—but the Social Security Administration will not “assume” that you suffer with depression and/or anxiety if you don’t tell them-and neither will your doctor.  We will briefly discuss this in our next blog on Common Mistakes made when applying for disability benefits.

 If you are denied Social Security Disability benefits-or if you would like the help of a lawyer during the application process, don’t give up, you really should call an experienced Alabama Social Security Disability Lawyer.  Contact and speak with one of the knowledgeable Alabama Disability Attorneys at Powell and Denny today for a free consultation.  Virtual appointments are available through Zoom, so you have meet with one of our experienced Disability Lawyers from the safety, convenience and comfort of home wherever you live in Alabama or Tennessee.

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Social Security Disability Benefits  Common Mistakes in Applying for Benefits I

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