You already know that the majority of people who file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits get denied. You may even be prepared to file an appeal. But you can take steps today that will both eliminate unnecessary delays in your claim and reduce the odds of a denial.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  1. You cannot assume that your claim will move along smoothly from start to finish. While you can “trust the process,” you cannot trust paperwork to be received in the right place or letters to get to their destination. Always send your documents to the agency or Disability Determination Services (DDS) certified, so that you’re assured of their receipt.
  2. Contact your doctor’s office about your medical records. Many medical offices are lax about responding to Social Security’s requests for information — and that missing information could be critical for your case. Make sure that your physician’s staff is expecting the request and ask them to let you know when they have responded to it.
  3. Don’t ignore phone calls or letters from the agency. If you don’t understand the reason for the contact, call your claims representative and find out. If you ignore a request for information, the agency will usually make their decision based on the evidence they already have in your file — and that can be disastrous for you.
  4. Continue your medical treatment. Noncompliance with a physician’s treatment plan is one of the main causes of claim denials.
  5. Keep your contact information current. If you move or your phone number changes, you need to make certain that Social Security can still contact you. Otherwise, your claim could be seriously delayed.

If you’re struggling to get your Social Security Disability benefits approved, working with an experienced advocate may make the difference. Find out how an attorney can help keep your claim on track no matter what else is happening.