The Social Security disability application process is difficult and complex, with almost 70% of applicants getting denied at the initial application level. One reason the level of denials is so high is there are myths and misconceptions about the Social Security disability application process that negatively impact families. These myths and misconceptions impact what information families and individuals include in their applications, and have resulted in an unawareness about Social Security’s role and responsibilities in this process. Here are 5 myths to avoid when completing a Social Security disability application:
1. Social Security will find me disabled just because I have a diagnosis.
You have to meet both the technical and medical criteria to be approved for disability. This means you have to have enough work credits or meet the strict financial criteria, and you have to be making less than $1,350 per month. You also have to have medical evidence that clearly documents your symptoms and limitations, in addition to your diagnosis (or diagnoses if you have more than one disabling condition).
2. Social Security will actively provide case updates.
Social Security (SSA) does not provide case updates, outside of the very limited % of case completion in your online Social Security account. This update does not tell you what information SSA has, what information they are waiting on, or what comes next in the case process. To get useful case updates, you will need to call your SSA claim examiner and ask specific questions about your case. You can find a helpful resource here: https://hdsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Following-up-with-Social-Security-Infographic.pdf
3. Social Security will contact my physicians directly.
Social Security will send medical record requests to medical record departments, not individual physicians. Your physicians will likely never see the direct request from SSA so they will not know if your records have been received. If you want your physicians to send something to SSA, you have to tell your physician what you want sent and where to send it.
4. Social Security is required to obtain my medical records.
Social Security is legally required to request your medical records, but that does not mean they will actually receive your records. SSA can only follow up on medical record requests a set number of times before they have to move forward with your case. If they do not get any medical records for your case, they will have to make a decision without the records. Medical record requests get lost, get sent to the wrong place, or just do not make it back to SSA, which is why you have to call SSA and make sure your records are received.
5. Social Security will not send any other forms or paperwork for me to complete.
Social Security will send multiple sets of forms in the mail that will need to be completed and returned to help build the strongest claim possible. Failing to cooperate with Social Security can also result in a denial. Common forms you will get in the mail include: