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Facts about applying for Social Security disability benefits

There are certain facts that all Floridians who are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits need to know. While those who are deserving of benefits have a good chance of being approved, it is not an automatic guarantee.

The number of people who are seeking SSD benefits in the U.S. is increasing on an annual basis. For example, in 2013, about 2.7 million people applied. That was an increase of around 800,000 from ten years earlier. Research has shown that around 36 percent of applicants, from 2004 to 2013, were approved.

Given the large numbers of people who are denied Social Security, it is imperative that new applicants understand that denials sometimes stem not from the disability itself not being of sufficient severity, but by mistakes made when filing for disability.

There are, however, steps that an applicant can take to ensure that the denial is not due to a clerical mistake. For example, having all the medical information together prior to filing can be beneficial. Often the Social Security Administration will issue a decision while the claimant is still waiting for records. The SSA having the entire record can help them to understand what the claimant is dealing with. It is also imperative that the claimant is getting medical treatment for the condition, injury or illness. Frequently, it is the doctor's assessment as to the claimant's medical issues and the chances for improvement that determine whether or not a claim will be approved.

Being vigilant about the records getting to the SSA, adhering to the income restrictions, not taking part in substantial gainful activity, and making the mistake of not appealing a denial are all common issues that arise in disability cases. These somewhat complex matters can all be intimidating to a person who is ill, injured or has a condition that makes SSD benefits necessary in the first place. With that in mind, it is always a smart decision to seek legal assistance from an attorney who is experienced in helping clients who are seeking disability benefits.

Source: CNBC, "Steps to successfully apply for Social Security disability," Kelli B. Grant, Feb. 1, 2016

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