When you are unable to work, programs such as SSDI can be helpful. In fact, they are a lifeline for many people. Unfortunately, the application and approval process can be complicated to the point that they scare off applicants or result in applicants submitting applications containing mistakes.
SSDI claims are often rejected the first time through the system, and being aware of the simple mistakes that get applications denied may help you avoid your own denial.
Not documenting when you think your disability began
Some disabilities that prevent people from working have a clear onset date. Others may occur gradually and even across different states and employers. If you are struggling with one of these disabilities, you may think it is not a big deal if you cannot pinpoint exactly when the disability began or do not have documentation for it.
It matters. Talk to former neighbors, former co-workers, friends and family--anyone who could possibly help--to get accurate, and if possible, documented information. Even a journal entry or several from way back when that mentions the disability or injury can be helpful.
Ignoring Social Security contact attempts
People go on vacation. They deal with depression or grief when they struggle with disabilities or the death of someone they love. Completely understandable. However, Social Security calls, mail or emails keep coming, and the agency expects you to respond. If you do not, that can put your application or appeal in jeopardy.
Playing it safe or making assumptions
Inconsistency can spell doom for a disability application. For example, if you think your disability may have begun in X year and submit your application but later remember that it could have been even before that in X year, you need good evidence to prove your claim. Always tell the truth as you know it when dealing with disability matters. Strive for "I know" instead of "I think." Do not try to embellish or downplay something to make your case look better, even if the issue in question seems insignificant.