Getting approved for Social Security disability benefits can be extremely difficult. While not every first-time disability application is denied, the average is around 65%. That means only around 35% of disability applications are approved when they are first filed. Even though there are no hard and fast rules that will ensure you are approved on the first attempt, you can do some things to increase your chances. Here are three things you can do to help get your Social Security disability claim approved.
1. Submit all necessary documentation relating to your condition.
One of the biggest reasons that people get denied when they first apply for Social Security disability benefits is because they don't submit enough documentation about their condition. Simply including a letter from your doctor is not enough. You need to have copies of your medical records that detail when your condition began and how it has gotten worse, despite treatment. The records need to go in great depth about your condition and what treatment options you have tried and failed.
Also, if you were treated by a chiropractor, you will need records from your primary care physician to back up the chiropractor's records. The reason for this is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn't consider chiropractors to be medical doctors.
2. Ensure you are not making more than what is acceptable for people receiving disability benefits.
Another reason applicants get denied when they apply for Social Security disability benefits is because they make too much money at the time of application. You likely have to keep working while you wait to get approved for benefits because your bills won't wait, however continuing to work a full-time job can lead to a denial.
The way the SSA sees it, if you are continuing to work a full-time job when you apply, then you can continue to work that job and not get disability benefits. As of 2015, the income limit to get approved for disability and keep it is $1,090 for non-blind people and $1,820 if you are blind. Any amount of income over these amounts at the time of application can cause you to be denied.
3. Be sure to include documentation for your reasons for denying any treatment options.
Failing to follow treatment options provided by your doctor can cause your disability claim to be denied as well. If you have refused a treatment option that your doctor has suggested, it will be in your medical records. Instead of waiting to explain your reasons for non-compliance during your appeal, it is a good idea to go ahead and submit it with your initial application.
Some reasons that the SSA will accept for your non-compliance with treatment include:
- It goes against your religious beliefs.
- You have an intense fear of surgery.
- The treatment would cause a financial hardship.
- It requires amputation.
- The surgery is too risky when weighed against the potential benefits.
This list is not exhaustive. There are other reasons that the SSA may accept to explain your non-compliance with treatment options. Just be sure to provide necessary documentation relating to why you didn't follow a particular treatment option offered to you by your doctor. Without the documentation, your claim will likely be denied. For more information or help, consider contacting a Social Security disability lawyer in your area.