Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance

A large number of people applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim in 2011 and this number might be surprising considering that we have an aging population. Many claims are denied and the number of denials obviously demonstrates why attorney representation during all steps of the process is highly recommended.

Employers do not always make accommodations for disabled job seekers and thus these individuals have no choices but to file Social Security Disability claims. Of the millions of claims filed in 2011, approximately 1.5 million continue to wait for a decision concerning their applications. Thus the process is sometimes long and is often followed up by a denial. Yet Michigan applicants denied their claims at the initial level should not let their frustrations get in the way of continuing on with the process.

Applicants need to be cognizant that a variety of mistakes can be made will applying for benefits. Often times applicants simply give up, miss appeal deadlines, or choose not to appeal. Applicants would also be well advised to take their time in filling out the applications and provide as much applicable information as they can. Incomplete applications almost guarantee an initial denial (thus the need for attorneys to help complete the forms).

Often when applicants are denied on an initial application, they start the whole process over instead of simply adding additional detail to the first application. This mistake can be corrected by keeping copies of all applications and practicing good record keeping.

Many applicants simply underestimate their disability. Simply because the condition failed to worsen prior to the appeal process does not mean that the application warranted rejection. It is estimated that as many as 70 to 80 percent of those denied benefits nevertheless are never able to return to work. And others worked at jobs while hampered with a severe disability.

Though avoiding some of these mistakes may seem like nothing more than commonsense, the fact that so many appeals are lost for these very reasons is why every applicant should be conscious of such mistakes. Applicants should also be aware that a denial of a claim does not mean they are undeserving of disability payments.

Source: World News Report, "The Future of Social Security Disability," Feb. 9, 2012

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