Here are some common problems I see Claimants make as they attempt to file for and receive Social Security disability benefits:
First, you need to decide whether or not you want to use a Social Security disability attorney. If you choose to file your application yourself, then make a plan to continue doing so until the application is completely filed. Do not stop half-way through the online application and not return to finish. The Social Security Administration has an online checklist you can review before filing so a person will be completely prepared for what information will be required.
If you do not finish the application fully and then attempt to hire an attorney later to refile a new application, your old application will actually block you from filing the new one online. The result? You and your attorney will either need to contact Social Security to have the old application dismissed or you will need to file a paper application and mail it to your local Social Security office. The problem with any written application for benefits is that they are not accompanied by an online confirmation number. The result again? Oftentimes the application is not filed and you have to start over. Obviously, this is a waste of valuable time and effort.
Keep all decisions or letters or any other correspondence the Social Security Administration sends you during your entire disability. Oftentimes Claimants become overwhelmed with the amount of information they receive from the Administration, but these letters are vital to understanding how and when benefits will be paid. Even after you have been approved, if the Administration is sending you correspondence, there is a reason for it. The solution? If you don't understand, ask your attorney or go to your local Social Security office.
Don't just ignore these letters, you will likely be sorry.
If anything in your life changes (living arrangements, employment, changes in your condition, money matters, etc.) you need to report this to the Social Security Administration. You cannot imagine how many times I have spoke to people who have had changes in their financial situation (working, inheritance, etc.) and then they receive a letter informing them they now owe back-payments. Some of these people owe as much as $30,000 or more and they have no way of repaying this debt back to the federal government. Bottom line? Especially when a change involves employment or money or assets, you have to inform the Administration and let them tell you what will happen next.
However, try and get a second opinion. Information you receive is not always the most accurate.
Lastly, take responsibility of your own disability benefits. What do I mean by this? Investigate answers to your questions first and then make sure you are on the right track. Social Security disability law is vast and at times confusing. It is also very technical and small details can make a big difference.
Let me give you an example: If you are receiving SSI benefits and you feel as though you are ready to now go back to work, investigate Social Security's Ticket To Work program. Also, investigate how your returning back to work may affect your Medicaid benefits. Don't just go back to work without a plan, it's likely you will regret not knowing that you had some options before choosing to do so.