When you apply for SSD benefits, you probably need to get approved as soon as possible. Unfortunately, getting approved is not something that happens overnight. In Charlotte, if your application is denied and you appeal, you can expect to wait an average of eight months until your hearing.
As long of a wait as that is, we are lucky. Social Security Administration (SSA) offices in other cities and states report average wait times as long as 14 months. With waiting lists as long as they are, as an applicant, you naturally want to do everything you can to avoid unnecessary delays. Unless you know the pitfalls, you can hurt your own case without meaning to.
The costliest mistake
The biggest mistake people make during the application process is not gathering the required documentation. Applying for SSD benefits requires more than filling out a form. You need to show the SSA that you have a long-term, serious disability that makes it impossible for you to support yourself through work. Also, you must prove that you have sufficient work history to qualify for SSD.
This means bringing up-to-date medical documentation, such as medical imaging, physician’s notes and treatment records. The documentation should give a clear picture of your diagnosis and prognosis. You should also ask your doctor to provide a medical source statement that explains how your disability reduces your ability to do your job.
Without these documents, you will have little chance of success at your SSA field office interview. Getting approved for benefits is difficult enough, with most applicants being turned down in the first round. Fortunately, if you come prepared for your interview and still get denied, you have the right to appeal.