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Mistakes to Avoid on Your Social Security Disability Application

In a perfect world, anyone unable to work due to medical reasons could complete a Social Security disability application and receive benefits. In reality, many Utah residents – more than half of those who apply – are rejected by the Social Security Administration.

Why are so many applications denied? There are several reasons, but the issue often boils down to mistakes made when completing the forms. To give yourself the best chance of getting approved for disability benefits, you’ll want to avoid the following.

Social Security disability applications Utah

Inaccurate Personal Information

Completing a Social Security disability application requires a significant amount of basic data. You’ll need to provide your birthdate, the name of your current spouse, the beginning and ending dates of all marriages and divorces, the names and birthdates of your children – we could go on, but you get the idea.

As you might expect, it’s easy to transpose numbers or provide info that isn’t exactly accurate. If that happens, the mistake could lead to a delay or denial of your disability claim.

Incomplete Medical Information

The disability application asks for a thorough medical history, and the SSA uses this information to determine eligibility for benefits. Among other details, you’ll need to provide the contact info for all of your health care providers, the dates of your visits, test results and medical records from every doctor and facility where you sought treatment.

Disability applicants often accidentally leave out emergency room visits, and many don’t include medical information that doesn’t seem relevant. Either mistake could derail your disability claim.

Incorrect Employment Information

Work history plays a large role in the SSA’s process for determining eligibility for benefits. To qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) you must have worked for 20 of the last 40 quarters. You must also pass the duration of work test, proving that you paid into the Social Security system for a long enough period.

You’ll need to provide work documents, employment dates and sufficient details as the requirements of each job when you submit your disability application. Clearly, not giving the SSA all of the necessary info would be a mistake.

Can You Fix Mistakes on Your Social Security Disability Application?

If you believe you made an error or left out important information when completing your Social Security disability application, you can address the problem by visiting the closest Utah field office. There, a member of the staff can help you correct any mistakes.

Not sure if your application was completed correctly? Or are you just getting ready to apply for benefits? Either way, an experienced disability lawyer or advocate in Utah can provide you with the assistance you need, catching potential errors and optimizing your application.

Let Mountain West Disability help you get the benefits you need. Our highly skilled team will make every effort to ensure that your application is accurate and complete – and we won’t charge you any fees unless and until you’re approved for disability benefits.

For a free case evaluation, or to discuss your Social Security disability application with an experienced professional, contact Mountain West Disability in Murray, Utah, today.

How Medical Treatment Boosts Your Claim for Disability Benefits

When you file a claim for disability benefits in Utah, the Social Security Administration will look to your medical history in assessing your credibility. Including the details of any treatment you have received is essential – this helps prove that your condition is as severe as you’ve asserted and that your ability to earn a living is limited.

As these are key factors in a successful disability claim, your medical treatment records can play a major role in determining whether or not the SSA finds in your favor. Here’s what you need to know if you plan on applying for disability benefits.

disability benefits Utah

Why Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Advice Is Critical

Generally speaking, you need to be getting treated to qualify for disability benefits. If you haven’t talked to a doctor about your condition, the SSA will likely conclude that it isn’t disabling – and that means your claim will stands a strong chance of being denied. The same is true if you have consulted with a doctor, but aren’t following their treatment advice.

On the other hand, if you’ve been under a doctor’s care for quite some time – or if you’ve seen multiple medical professionals and tried different treatment options – the SSA is much more likely to approve your application for disability benefits.

Valid Reasons for Not Complying with Treatment Recommendations

Failing to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan could result in a denial of disability benefits if the recommended course of action would be expected to restore your ability to earn an income. That said, the SSA must consider whether you have good reasons for not seeking or complying with treatment.

Reasons that may be acceptable include:

  • You are unable to afford the recommended treatment.
  • A medicine you’ve been prescribed has serious side effects.
  • The treatment plan is against your religious beliefs.
  • A mental illness is keeping you from getting the treatment you need.

If the SSA has questions about your failure to pursue or comply with treatment, someone should contact you for an explanation. However, if you believe there’s a chance that your medical history could be an issue, be proactive and make your reasons for not doing more to treat your condition absolutely clear in your application for disability benefits.

Provide a Complete Treatment History with Your Disability Claim

As your medical treatment records will affect the outcome of your disability claim, you need to make sure that the SSA has all of the necessary information. Listing all of your treatment providers is crucial – include your primary care doctor and any other medical or mental health professionals you’ve seen, and the SSA will have a better idea of the lengths to which you’ve gone to treat your condition. As such, your claim for disability benefits will be less likely to be denied.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply want expert help with the Social Security disability claims process, let the professional team at Mountain West Disability help. We can guide you through every step – and we’ll only collect a fee if we’re successful in getting you approved for disability benefits. For a free case evaluation, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Terms to Know When Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

If you’re disabled and planning on filing a Social Security disability claim in Utah, you’ll likely come across an array of unfamiliar terms and acronyms. For many people, the jargon used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) causes a great deal of confusion – and what you need are clear, easy-to-understand definitions of important terms. The list below, from the professional team at Mountain West Disability, should help.

Social Security disability claim Utah

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

After you file your Social Security disability claim, the SSA will send you a questionnaire that asks you to describe your activities of daily living. ADLs are the basic tasks you do on a daily basis, such as bathing, cooking, shopping and taking care of pets.

Alleged Onset Date (AOD)

In a disability application, the alleged onset date is the date that the applicant became disabled and unable to work. Your AOD may play a role in the amount of backpay you receive – but, the SSA could conclude that your disability began on a different date.

Back Pay

Back pay is the amount of money a claimant would have received if their application for disability benefits had been immediately approved. Due to the lengthy processing time for disability claims in Utah, many applicants receive large lump sum payments.

Disability Determination Services (DDS)

Many disability claims in Utah are initially handled at one of the field offices, located in Ogden, Provo, St. George, Salt Lake City and South Jordan. Claims are then sent to the Office of Disability Determination Services in Salt Lake City for a decision on benefits.

Past Relevant Work (PRW)

In evaluating disability claims, the SSA considers an applicant’s job experience over the last 15 years, or their past relevant work. Defining your PRW can be difficult, as not all jobs qualify — and getting the list wrong could cause your application to be denied.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

After examining your records, the DDS will have a doctor, psychologist or other medical consultant make a residual functional capacity assessment. The RFC form rates your work abilities and limitations, and it will be used to determine if you can return to work.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

When assessing Social Security disability claims, the SSA looks at whether or not an applicant can perform substantial gainful activity. SGA is work that brings in a certain amount of money per month, and earning more typically results in a denial of benefits.

As you no doubt realize, filing an application for disability benefits can be rather complicated. The highly experienced attorneys and advocates at Mountain West Disability have helped hundreds of disabled individuals in Utah and throughout the country obtain the benefits they need. Our professional team is here to help you with every stage of the Social Security disability claim process. For a free consultation, contact us today.

Finding a Good Social Security Disability Lawyer in Utah

While you aren’t required to hire a Social Security disability lawyer in Utah, statistics have proven that people who have professional representation – meaning either an attorney or an advocate — are more likely to get approved for benefits. This is particularly true for those whose disability claims progress to the hearing level or beyond.

Finding a qualified and experienced professional to assist with your claim is in your best interests. Here’s what to keep in mind as you look for the right Social Security disability lawyer to assist with your claim.

Social Security disability lawyer Utah

Experience

Whether you search online for disability lawyers in Utah or get the names of local legal professionals and advocates from people you know, make sure to visit their websites. You’ll want to learn more about their familiarity with Social Security law and their experience working on disability claims.

A number of conditions may qualify a claimant for disability benefits. When preparing a claim, using the language that applies to the specific condition is crucial to preventing denials or delays, and that knowledge comes with extensive experience.

Professionalism

When you make initial calls and inquiries to disability lawyers and advocates, pay attention to the treatment you receive from the staff. If you don’t receive a timely response or professional service, consider that to be a definite red flag.

However, don’t be alarmed if you don’t speak with an attorney immediately. Many of the most experienced Social Security disability lawyers in Utah spend the bulk of their time representing clients in appeal hearings. That said, a reputable law firm should allow you to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

Interviewing Candidates

In Utah, you have the choice of countless Social Security disability lawyers and disability advocates. What’s important isn’t whether you choose an attorney or a professional advocate – it’s making sure that the person you hire is capable of providing the support and assistance you need throughout the disability claims process.

To that end, you’ll want to treat each consultation you schedule as a question-and-answer session. The disability lawyer or advocate you speak with will no doubt have questions for you, and you should come with a list of you own. A few questions you may want to ask include:

  • How many disability claims do you handle each year?
  • Do you have experience representing claimants with this condition?
  • What is your success rate with disability claims?
  • How often do inform clients about the progress of their claims?
  • If necessary, are you prepared to take a case to federal court?
  • Will you help with both the paperwork and documentation?
  • How much do you charge for professional representation?
  • Would it be possible to speak with any of your previous clients?

Mountain West Disability is highly regarded firm with a staff of experienced disability attorneys and seasoned advocates, all of whom are dedicated to helping eligible Utah residents claim the benefits they need and deserve. Our expert team can assist you with every step of the disability claims process, and we won’t charge you a fee unless we’re able to get you approved for benefits.

To learn more about Mountain West Disability, or to schedule a free case review with a friendly and knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Does Anyone Automatically Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Getting a decision on disability benefits can take several months or longer. Once approved, many Utah residents have to wait another month or two for their first monthly payment. Back pay typically takes even longer to arrive.

Hearing this, you may wonder if there’s a faster route to financial assistance from the Social Security Administration. The answer is yes – through the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program, some people automatically qualify for disability benefits. Here’s a look at how the program works.

disability benefits Utah

The Compassionate Allowances Program

The Compassionate Allowances program was designed to help people with serious and obvious disabilities get the benefits they need more quickly.

Applicants who provide the SSA with medical data proving that they have a condition that is on the Compassionate Allowance list (CAL) can get approved for disability benefits in as little as 10 days.

Those who automatically qualify for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program are issued their first payment the month after their claim is approved. However, for beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a waiting period still applies – payments don’t begin until five months after the disability onset date.

Conditions that Qualify for Compassionate Allowances

The disabling conditions on the CAL are among the most serious, and includes issues that cause ongoing difficulties for the claimant as well as diseases and disorders that are expected to result in death. Here are some of the conditions that generally qualify for a compassionate allowance:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Cancer in an advanced stage
  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Pericardial mesothelioma
  • Refractory Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

For some of the conditions on the CAL, providing a diagnosis and supporting evidence is sufficient to automatically qualify for disability benefits. For others, claimants must meet specific criteria to qualify.

Meeting the SSA’s Standards for Disability Benefits

If you have a disease, disorder or disability that has been designated as a Compassionate Allowance, you stand a strong chance of automatically qualifying for benefits. Your medical records must support your claim, of course, but you can look forward to being on the fast track for an approval.

What if your condition isn’t on the CAL? If you’re unable to work, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. The SSA has a guide called the Blue Book, and if you meet the criteria in the listing for your particular condition, you can get approved. If not, your physician can complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment that details your work limitations and you may qualify through a medical vocational allowance.

Let Mountain West Disability Get Your Claim Underway

Are you disabled? If you can’t earn an income, you can count on Mountain West Disability to help you get the benefits you need as quickly as possible. Our highly experienced team of disability advocates will handle every aspect of your claim, and you won’t pay us a fee until you get paid.

For a free case evaluation and answers to all of your questions about disability benefits, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Can You File a Disability Claim on Behalf of a Loved One?

Hundreds of thousands of adults in Utah are disabled and unable to work. If you have a loved one in this situation, you can file a disability claim on their behalf.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two financial assistance options – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) – and your friend or family member could be eligible for benefits under one or both programs. If approved, they’ll receive the cash relief they need to cover their living expenses. Read on to learn how to go about filing a disability claim on your loved one’s behalf.

disability claims Utah

What You Need to Fill Out a Disability Application

When you file a disability claim, you need to supply the SSA with as much evidence as possible to stand a chance of getting an approval. Including any of the following can help in proving that your loved one is eligible for benefits:

  • A physician’s report containing a diagnosis and a recommended treatment plan
  • Dates and results of any laboratory and diagnostic tests along with the dates of any medical attention or treatment
  • Names, phone numbers and addresses of the physicians and medical centers that have provided treatment
  • Names, dosages and prescribing physician for all of the medications they currently take
  • The results of a residual functional capacity assessment that details their work limitations

To complete the disability application, you’ll also need to provide the following information about your loved one:

  • The location and date of their birth and their Social Security number
  • The name, date and place of birth and Social Security number of their spouse and, if applicable, any former spouses
  • The names and dates of birth for any children they have who are under the age of 18
  • The names and contact information of employers they have worked for within the last 15 years, along with the dates of employment

How to File a Social Security Disability Claim

When you’ve gathered everything you need to complete the disability application for your loved one, you can schedule an appointment at the closest Utah Social Security field office. You also have the option of starting the disability claims process online.

The easiest method, however, is to rely on an experienced disability advocate or attorney. Either professional can take care of the required paperwork for you – which not only eases your stress, but also increases your loved one’s chances of getting approved for benefits.

Of the millions of disability claims the SSA receives each year, only about 30 percent are approved. Denials can be appealed, but you don’t want your friend or family member to wait any longer than necessary for the financial assistance they need. As such, working with a disability attorney or advocate is strongly recommended.

Mountain West Disability Offers Expert Help at No Upfront Cost

Based in northern Utah, Mountain West Disability is here to provide the help you need with your loved one’s disability claim. Our team of highly experienced advocates and attorneys can handle everything – and we’ll only collect a fee if benefits are awarded. Plus, our fee will come from the first backpay check, not out of your pocket.

Let us put our expertise to work for your loved one. For a free consultation to discuss their Social Security disability claim, contact Mountain West Disability in Murray, Utah, today.

Should You Have a Lawyer File Your Initial Disability Application?

Many disabled individuals in Utah file their initial Social Security disability application on their own, without the assistance of a lawyer. Before you to that route, however, consider the alternative.

As attorneys who handle disability claims in Utah, we encourage people to get a professional involved at the beginning of the process. Hiring a lawyer early on, before you submit your Social Security disability application, gives you the best chance of obtaining the benefits you need.

disability application Utah

Most Disability Applications are Denied

Each year, millions of people apply for for disability benefits – and the Social Security Administration (SSA) only approves about 30 percent of the initial claims they receive. The remainder are denied, and getting a denial after several months of waiting for a decision is incredibly discouraging.

Applicants can appeal a denial, of course, but very few claims are approved during the reconsideration and hearing stages of the appeals process. Subsequent denials result in long delays, and some cases can drag on for years.

Having a lawyer prepare and file your initial Social Security disability application doesn’t guarantee an approval, but doing so can strengthen your claim.

Filing a Successful Claim for Benefits

With the huge number of disability applications the SSA processes every year, you’ll want to make sure your claim is accurate and complete. If there are any errors, omissions or disparities in the information provided, your initial claim will likely be denied.

Hiring an experienced disability lawyer on your side greatly increases your chances of an approval. An attorney who specializes in Social Security disability claims will know the rules that govern eligibility, and they’ll be able avoid the many administrative and procedural reasons why the SSA denies applications for benefits.

What’s more, a disability lawyer will be able to present your case in the best possible light. Your application will contain the necessary documentation to prove that you meet the criteria for benefits, which minimizes the risk of your claim being denied due to lack of medical evidence. And if the SSA doesn’t approve your disability application, your attorney will assist you with the appeals process.

The Cost of Hiring a Disability Lawyer

After reading everything above, you might want to have a lawyer prepare and file your initial disability application – but can you afford to do so?

Yes! You won’t have to put down a retainer or pay any legal fees upfront. Social Security disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, and your attorney’s compensation will come from the past-due benefits you are awarded. So, you don’t have to worry about where you’ll get the money to pay for legal assistance.

At Mountain West Disability, our lawyers strive to swiftly obtain benefits for our clients. And while we can’t guarantee that we can get your claim approved, we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that happens. For expert assistance with your Social Security disability application, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Can You Afford to Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney?

You’re disabled and unable to work, and well-meaning friends have suggested that you hire a Social Security Disability attorney. Having an experienced Utah lawyer on your side boosts the odds of your disability application being approved, so taking their advice certainly makes sense.

But how can you afford legal assistance when you’re already under financial strain?

Actually, working with a Social Security Disability attorney in Utah costs you nothing until your case ends. And even then, there’s no need to be concerned about the expense.

Social Security Disability attorney Utah

Disability Attorneys Only Earn a Fee if Benefits are Awarded

While attorneys who specialize in other areas of the law often charge hourly fees, disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, their payment is contingent upon the outcome of a case – and if your attorney isn’t successful in getting you approved for benefits, you won’t be charged a dime in legal fees.

Attorney Fees Come Directly From the Past-Due Benefits

If a disability attorney agrees to take your case, knowing that they’ll only earn a fee if they win, they must believe they can help you obtain benefits. But when that happens, you won’t need to come up with cash to cover your legal fees – your lawyer will get their payment automatically, with the funds coming from your first backpay check.

How Much You’ll End Up Paying Your Disability Attorney

Disability lawyers don’t have the freedom to set their own fees, as the Social Security Administration places a limit on how much an attorney can charge. You can expect legal representation to cost you either 25 percent of the past-due benefits awarded or $6,000, whichever is less.

Will You Have any Out-of-Pocket Costs if You Hire an Attorney?

When you hire a disability lawyer, you won’t have to pay any upfront legal fees – but you may still have a few expenses as your case proceeds. At Mountain West, we charge nothing to obtain your medical records. But you may have postage and photocopying costs, and any necessary physical or psychological exams are your responsibility. However, these are expenses you would have incurred if you handled your own disability application.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Mountain West Disability

The legal team at Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, has helped hundreds of disabled individuals across the country navigate the disability application process – and over the years, our Social Security Disability attorneys have built a proven track record of winning cases.

Let us fight for the financial assistance you need. For a free case evaluation or you have questions regarding the cost of hiring a Social Security Disability attorney, contact us today.

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Utah

If you become disabled and unable to earn a living, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Utah residents can get financial assistance through two federal programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – and you can apply immediately.

So, how do you do that? What do you need to apply for disability benefits in Utah? Find the answers below, along with expert advice on how increase your chances of success with your initial application.

disability benefits Utah

Information You Need to Complete the Disability Application

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you need to provide certain information. We recommend that you have the following on hand:

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, medical centers and hospitals where you have received treatment, along with the date of each visit
  • Names and dosages of the prescription and nonprescription medications you are currently taking, and which medical provider instructed you to take them
  • Names and contact information for your current employer and any other places you have recently worked, with the dates of employment at each
  • Any documents relating to your condition that are in your possession, including medical records, laboratory test results and doctors’ reports
  • A copy of your latest W-2 form or, if self-employed, a copy of last year’s federal income tax return

Where to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

When you’re ready to apply for disability benefits, you can do so in person at a local Social Security field office. Utah has five – in Murray, Ogden, Provo, St. George and Salt Lake City – and you can schedule an appointment at the closest office. Or, if you prefer, you can make arrangements to have someone take your disability claim over the phone.

An online disability application is also available, allowing you to apply for benefits from the convenience of your Utah home. However, most of the SSI application forms aren’t meant for self-completion.

Another option is to have an experienced disability advocate or attorney assist with your application. Either can handle the necessary paperwork, taking the work off of your hands and making the process of applying for benefits much less stressful.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Disability Benefits

Many deserving disability applicants are denied benefits, as only about 30 percent of the millions of applications the Social Security Administration receives are approved at the initial level. To boost the odds of approval, take these precautions:

  • Provide thorough, complete and accurate answers to every question
  • Share every physical and mental condition that limits your ability to work
  • Explain exactly how your symptoms affect your daily activities
  • Be careful not to exaggerate or downplay the severity of your symptoms

In addition, you may want to consider working with an experienced disability advocate or attorney. Applicants who are represented by an expert are more likely to get approved for Social Security disability benefits – and at Mountain West Disability, we offer assistance at no upfront cost.

If you’re ready to apply for disability benefits, contact Mountain West Disability and schedule a free consultation today.

Answers to Top Questions About Social Security Disability Claims

Feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of filing a Social Security disability claim in Utah? You certainly aren’t alone – many people find the process of applying for benefits to be complicated and confusing.

An experienced disability lawyer or advocate is your best source for information, and most offer free consultations. In the meantime, however, you may find answers to some of your questions in this guide from the professional team at Mountain West Disability.

Social Security disability claims Utah

Who is Eligible to Receive Disability Benefits?

To qualify for benefits, you must be disabled, with an injury, illness or impairment that prevents you from working or, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) says, renders you incapable of substantial gainful activity. In addition, the condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.

When Should You File a Disability Claim?

If your condition affects your ability to earn an income, you can file a Social Security disability claim immediately. Processing your application could take quite some time, and to minimize the waiting, it’s best to file a claim as soon as possible.

Should You Apply for SSI or SSDI?

You may be approved for benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – or both. Separate applications aren’t necessary, as SSA will consider your eligibility for both programs when evaluating your claim.

What’s the Best Way to Apply for Benefits?

Disabled individuals can file disability claims at the SSA website, over the phone with an SSA representative or at one of the five field offices in Utah. However, working with an experienced disability lawyer or advocate can be both easier and less stressful – plus, having expert help increases the odds of approval.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Decision?

There’s no easy answer to this question, as some disability claims are processed and approved within a few months, while others can take years to make their way through the system. But, if you have a severe condition with a clear diagnosis, a disability lawyer or advocate may be able to help you get an expedited decision.

What if Your Disability Application is Denied?

If you receive notice that your disability claim has been denied, you’re free to appeal the decision. And if your initial request for reconsideration is rejected, you can ask for an appeal hearing before an administrative law judge. If that isn’t successful, you can request a review from the Appeals Council and, if necessary take your case to federal court.

Do you have other questions about Social Security disability claims? In Utah, the professionals at Mountain West Disability are ready to provide answers – and our team of experienced disability lawyers can guide you through the claims process.

With Mountain West on your side, you stand a strong chance of being awarded benefits. And, we’ll only charge a fee if your Social Security disability claim is approved. For a free consultation, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.