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Avoiding Saying These Things When Applying for Disability

If you are disabled and unable to work, you may find it increasingly hard to make ends meet. Did you know Social Security disability benefits can help cover your expenses and keep you afloat financially?

While this Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit helps over 9 million people a year who suffer from disability or impairments, unfortunately, many others who would be eligible undermine their own claim in the application process. As a result, they are denied the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits they ought to earn.

As you complete your Social Security disability application, there are several phrases that you should avoid saying. Learn what they are and what you can say instead. To obtain help from a knowledgeable Virginia disability attorney, contact Montagna Law at 877-622-8100.

Overview of the Social Security Disability Application Process

Applying for Social Security disability insurance is a complex process. The federal agency takes many factors into account, including your medical condition and work history. It is up to you to prove your disability, and they do not make it easy. You must:

  • Gather information, including medical records and proof of disability
  • Fill out and submit an application
  • Wait for SSA to review, confirm work history, and evaluate work activities

Once the SSA completes these steps, your case will be forwarded to the Virginia Disability Determination Services office where a decision will be made about your benefits. Most people are initially denied after a three to six-month wait. If so, do not give up; you can appeal.

Ten Things You Should Never Say When Applying For Social Security Disability

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a complex and overwhelming process. You would be surprised how easy it is to say the wrong thing and hurt your eligibility. To decrease the chances of receiving a denial on your application, avoid the following ten phrases when dealing with the SSA.

1. “It’s not that bad. I’m fine.”

It can be difficult to admit your body can no longer do what it used to do. Many people struggle with talking about disability, even when applying for SSDI benefits. However, you need to be careful with insinuating you are fine and/or your pain is tolerable. The SSA needs a clear picture of your illness or injury and how it impacts your day-to-day living. Focus on talking about the things you cannot do rather than the ones you can.

2. “I’m getting better.”

Living with a disability for most people means you have some good days, but you have many bad ones. Even if you are not suffering from the worst symptoms each day, do not indicate you are getting better. This is almost a certainty of leading to a denial. Instead, talk about those bad days and how your diagnosis affects you.

3. “I can work, but no one will hire me.”

Again, you do not want to tell the SSA you can work but cannot get hired. Like other statements about your condition, you can easily undermine your disability eligibility. If you want to work in some capacity, there are legitimate ways you can do so while not hurting your chances for disability benefits.

4. “It hurts.”

It is important to be specific and not give vague references to being in pain. When applying for Social Security disability, you need to be clear about the type, severity, and location of your pain. Being able to demonstrate how your pain negatively impacts your daily activities and abilities is vital.

5. “I’m not being treated.” or “I stopped treatment.”

To increase your chances of being approved for SSD, you want to continue receiving treatment. If you disregard medical advice, you hurt your ability to receive benefits. Always seek treatment and follow doctor’s orders. A trail of medical records will substantially help your case.

6. “I have a history of drug use/criminal activity.”

Even if you have a history of drug use or criminal activity, do not volunteer this information. It does not affect your current disability but could lead to an instant denial of benefits. Speak to a knowledgeable attorney so you know what to say if you are asked about your history. You do not want to lie, but you also want to answer thoughtfully and carefully.

 7. “My relative gets disability.”

This is a phrase you absolutely want to avoid. It is irrelevant to your case and disability and makes it appear you are looking to get free money from the government. Even if you know a little about the disability process, avoid mentioning your relative’s status or experience because it could give a negative impression about your intentions of seeking disability benefits.

8. “I’ll be contacting a lawyer.”

You can involve a lawyer who will look out for you and make sure your application and documentation to send to the SSA is in order — this would be in your best interests. However, you do not want to antagonize the SSA or a healthcare provider by telling them you are getting a lawyer, even if they seem aggressive toward you. Instead, tell your attorney the facts and let their law firm handle any situations.

 9. “This is a waste of time.”

Yes, the disability interview and benefits application process can be frustrating, but it is essential to avoid being antagonistic. Instead, be polite and pay close attention to what is being asked.

10.  “In my opinion…”

Your opinion is not relevant to your application. Your opinion can only hurt your case, not help. If you feel you must further explain your case and provide additional information, stick to the facts in your medical record.

Other Mistakes to Avoid When Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits

woman video chatting with doctor from her home office

When seeking SSA approval, there are a few additional mistakes to avoid during the process.

Exaggerating Your Illness or Injury

Only talk about illness or injury you can document with medical evidence. Do not exaggerate any disabling condition you have because it makes it look like you are faking it when you cannot back your claims with medical evidence.

Being Vague About the Effects of Your Symptoms

Alternatively, you also want to make sure you give enough detail about how your symptoms affect your day-to-day living. Never be vague when you explain your symptoms.

Exaggerating Your Job Roles

As a part of the claim process, it is necessary to share your work history. When you fill out this section, be sure to stick to your job title and the tasks you routinely perform. Be honest and accurate about your job title and the type of work duties associated with your job.

Bringing Up Unnecessary Information (Personal Details, Finances, etc.)

The SSA is quick to deny, so it is best to stick to only providing the information the SSA requests. Do not share any unnecessary information about your personal life or finances unless specifically asked. It is hard enough to obtain disability payments without volunteering more reasons for them to deny you.

Contradicting Your Previous Statements or Your Documentation

It is important for claimants to stick to the facts when applying for SSI or SSDI because if you contradict prior statements, you will hurt your case. Working closely with a knowledgeable Virginia Social Security disability lawyer will help you put together the best case.

Continuing to Use Social Media

While you can use social media, be aware that a picture of you posing with friends or family at a simple outing can illustrate that your disability isn’t that severe. Even using positive/happy captions could negatively affect your filing. It’s best to limit your use of social media for the time being.

Montagna Law Makes the Difference for Disability Applicants

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The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be overwhelming to everyday people. It is complex and requires extensive attention to detail. We help guide our clients through this process to oversee that all requirements are met. Our attorneys are well-versed in SSI and SSDI and know exactly what type of information should be included in an initial application, as well as what should be added to strengthen an appeal of a denied claim.

Our law firm understands how to assemble and present a case to give you a solid chance of success. Montagna Law’s attorneys have gone through this process many times and understand the intricacy associated with the disability process, why the SSA denies claims, and what it takes to present a strong claim to the federal agency. We hope to be able to achieve success for you.

Montagna Law takes great pride in representing people in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk who suffer from disability or injuries. Going through this process can feel defeating, and we aim to give hope. We are here for you, always. Whether you are starting your initial application, heading to the appeals process, or preparing to appear before an administrative law judge, we can help.

We love what we do, we know what to do, and we would love to represent you!

“In my opinion, one will never find a better law firm than this anywhere nearby! Trust me!” -VR V.

Protect Your Claim From Start to Finish

The caring and compassionate Social Security disability attorneys at Montagna Law will stand with you every step of the way as you apply for disability benefits. Our clients are our priority, and if you choose us to represent you, our disability lawyers promise to actively work in your best interests.

To learn more about how Montagna Law can assist you with your SSDI application or with another legal issue, contact our Hampton Roads law firm. Our phone number is 877-622-8100, or, if preferable, fill out our online contact form.

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