Finding your way around the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application process can be a complex and daunting task. Many applicants in North Carolina face challenges that can significantly impact the success of their claims. At Kellum Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of SSDI and SSI applications and are committed to helping our clients avoid common pitfalls. This article highlights the top 5 most common mistakes to avoid and provides guidance to enhance your chances of approval. The claims process is complex, and we recommend that you engage the services of a qualified Disability Lawyer with extensive experience in SSD and SSDI benefit claims.

1. Failing to Understand the Eligibility Criteria

Mistake: One of the most fundamental errors is not fully understanding the eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI benefits. Applicants often assume that a medical diagnosis alone guarantees eligibility.

How to Avoid: Before applying, ensure you meet the criteria. SSDI requires a sufficient work history and contributions to Social Security, while SSI is based on financial need. Both programs require proof that your disability significantly limits your ability to work.

2. Inadequate Medical Documentation

Mistake: A common reason for denial is insufficient medical evidence to support the claim. Applicants sometimes submit incomplete records or fail to demonstrate how their disability affects their work capacity.

How to Avoid: Gather comprehensive medical records, including diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Documentation should explicitly state how your condition prevents you from working. Regularly visiting healthcare providers and following treatment plans can strengthen your case.

3. Not Disclosing All Relevant Health Issues

Mistake: Applicants often omit less severe health problems, not realizing that the cumulative effect of multiple conditions can be significant.

How to Avoid: Disclose all medical conditions, not just the most severe. The SSA considers the combined impact of all your health issues on your ability to work.


4. Applying While Still Working

Mistake: Attempting to work up to or beyond the SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) level can lead to a denial, as it suggests you’re still capable of working.

How to Avoid: Be mindful of the SGA limit, which for 2023 is $1,350 per month for non-blind individuals. If you earn more than this, the SSA may determine you’re not disabled according to their standards.

5. Overlooking the Appeals Process

Mistake: Many applicants become discouraged after a denial and abandon their claim, unaware that many successful cases are approved during the appeals process.

How to Avoid: If your initial application is denied, promptly pursue an appeal. Statistically, your chances of approval increase during the appeals stages, particularly if you have legal representation from an experienced SSD SSDI Law Firm.

Going through the process alone is a common mistake that leads to an initial denial of benefits. Navigating the SSDI and SSI application process without professional help can be overwhelming and may decrease your chances of success, so we recommend that you consider hiring a disability attorney who understands the system and can guide you through the process. Legal experts can help prepare your application, gather necessary documentation, and represent you during appeals.

Applying for SSDI and SSI benefits involves navigating a complex legal and bureaucratic landscape. By understanding and avoiding common mistakes, you can significantly improve your chances of securing the benefits you need and deserve. At Kellum Law Firm in North Carolina, we specialize in guiding clients through the SSDI and SSI application process, ensuring they avoid the common pitfalls listed above, along with many others. Our experienced team of lawyers and legal staff is dedicated to providing the support and representation necessary to achieve a successful outcome.

For further information on SSDI and SSI statistics and guidelines, visit the official Social Security Administration website at

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