Waiting too Long
If you have a condition that is preventing you from work, you should apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income right away. If your condition improves and you can return to work, you can always withdraw your claim.
Unfortunately, many people wait too long to apply for benefits and are often in dire financial situations by the time they apply. The process can take years, so the sooner you apply the better.
Sometimes people wait too long and they are no longer eligible for SSDI benefits. This can decrease your monthly income, impact your ability to save money, and impact the insurance you are eligible to receive when you are approved.
Social Security claims representatives are notorious for telling people to reapply rather appeal a denial. Do NOT do this. Always appeal! The process is very slow, and a new claim will force you to start over.
If you start over, the decision on your last claim becomes final and it is very difficult to reopen it.
Social Security can only pay you a maximum of one year prior to your application date. If you reapply instead of appealing, that date moves forward, and you lose money.
Going to a Hearing Unrepresented
Attending a hearing without representation is not in your best interest. Whether you choose Salus Law or another firm, you should always look for representation.
Unrepresented individuals often having missing medical evidence in their file. Unrepresented individuals only receive access to their medical file right before the hearing and are expected to review the evidence in a very short amount of time.
An attorney or other representative likely knows the judge’s style, knows how to analyze a case for problems, and knows how to help you tell your story. This will help you increase your chances of success.
Stopping Medical Treatment
Unfortunately, there are several reasons individuals stop receiving medical treatment. This is one of the biggest challenges in presenting a social security disability case. Without objective medical evidence, it is very difficult to prove that you are disabled.
Even if your condition has reached maximum medical improvement or is incurable, checking-in consistently with medical providers is critical to your case. Some judges assume that stopping medical treatment means your health has improved and they are unable to understand that it may be motivated by other factors such as money, lack of insurance, lack of treatment options, and/or transportation issues.