Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Common Pitfalls

Not knowing which Social Security benefits you get

Social Security has two disability benefits programs with very similar names:

Some people qualify for both programs at the same time. If you get benefits from Social Security, but aren’t sure which ones you get, open a free my Social Security account or order a free Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) at your local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

Not Reporting Your Earnings

You need to report your earnings to Social Security and your local County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS) office. If you don’t, you may get benefits that you shouldn’t. This is called an overpayment and you may have to pay those benefits back. To avoid this, be sure to report all of your income and any changes in income to Social Security and your County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS) office right away.

To report changes, contact your local Social Security office and ask how and when you should report your earnings. You may be able to report:

Note: Due to COVID-19, there may be limits on in-person services. Contact your agency by phone to ask about this.

Lack of Documentation

The more specifically you document your medical condition, the easier it will be to support a claim for SSDI benefits. Documenting in a daily medical journal can be of great value. If you can't make the journal entries yourself, a friend or relative can log the entries. This journal can also supply you with a way to inform providers about your medical condition.

Not sharing information with your medical provider

Many people do not clearly discuss their plans to apply for benefits with their doctors and other medical providers. Ideally, you and your medical providers should share all information to assess the duration and severity of your disabling condition. If you don't do this, you may end up with an application for disability benefits that does not reflect how long you have had your disabling condition or how it affects your day-to-day activities.

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