Common Mistakes Disability Claimants Make



Social Security’s rules for applying for disability and appealing adverse decisions are complicated. 

While you can certainly choose to represent yourself, most Administrative Law Judges we have worked with in Hawaii recommend that claimants postpone their appeal hearing and seek representation instead of trying to go it alone.

You have a much better chance to win your case if you have a qualified disability representative working for you.

Keep reading to find out the five most common mistakes claimants make.

Common Mistakes Disability Claimants Make


1.   Not hiring a qualified, local representative!!  Social Security’s laws are numerous and complex.  Many disabled claimants are denied disability benefits because they do not know how to organize their evidence, describe their medical condition and present their case to SSA.  A qualified, local Social Security Disability Representative can help you avoid making mistakes and help you present your case to SSA in the way that gives you the very best chance to be approved for disability benefits. 

2.  Not following Social Security’s rules for filing deadlines.  If you miss a deadline to submit evidence or information that Social Security requests, or if you miss the deadline to file an Appeal, and cannot provide a very good reason for doing so,  you may lose your claim.

3.  Not being honest with Social Security about past work, current work status and income, or your medical condition.  Basically, you must be completely truthful in all of your dealings with Social Security.  If you lose your credibility by not being completely truthful at any point during the application or appeal process, you may lose your claim.

4.  Not seeking medical care for your disability, or not following your doctor’s treatment recommendations.  You must PROVE that you are disabled, and it is next to impossible to do this without a medical record that describes your disabling condition, its severity, and how it has been treated.  Without medical proof, you will not meet Social Security’s definition of disability.

5.  Not appearing credible during your appeal hearing before the Administrative Law Judge.  It is absolutely vital that you are totally honest in all of your dealings with Social Security, and it is especially important to be completely truthful when you testify during your appeal hearing.  Your appeal hearing is not a “trial”,  and it is your only opportunity to present your case in person.  You must answer questions about your medical condition honestly so that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can make a good decision about approving or denying your claim.   If during the hearing the ALJ begins to feel you are not being totally honest, it will be very difficult for the judge to believe any testimony you give and your claim will probably be denied.