Know how to file a disability claim and get the benefits you deserve

Applying for disability benefits is stressful. You are unable to work and facing financial difficulties all while battling a severe injury or illness. Phone calls with the disability carrier, chasing after medical records, participating field visits at your home, and filing for disability can be a full-time job. It can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when it seems like the system is designed to work against you. Here is some expert advice that can help the process go smoother and ensure you get the benefits you’ve worked so hard for.


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  • obtain all of your medical records
  • get a detailed medical source statement
  • follow your prescribed treatment
  • know the difference between “own occupation” and “any occupation” on your policy
  • consult an experienced disability attorney

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  • miss site visits, doctor’s appointments, or filing deadlines
  • lie
  • use the words “never” or “always”
  • post anything on social media
  • give up if your claim is denied

[publishpress_authors_data]'s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do obtain all of your medical records

Medical records are absolutely essential and can make or break your case. Provide your insurance carrier with the names of all your medical providers, treatment dates, and medical history. Fill out all of the forms completely, including information about your employment or medical history. Include copies of your records with your application or shortly after you file.

Do get a detailed medical source statement

Talk with your doctor and make sure the statement that you’re treating physician supplies gives a thorough description of your current condition and why your restrictions and limitations prevent you both physically and mentally from performing your occupation. If your current doctor hasn’t been treating you for very long, get additional statements from others that have been working with you longer. Your insurance carrier is looking for the reasons you can no longer work and proof that you won’t get better anytime soon.

Do follow your prescribed treatment

Make sure you are following the treatment your doctor has prescribed for you to the tee and that you are getting treatment for all conditions. Your insurance carrier will look at all of your combined medical conditions when making their decisions. If you can’t work because of several conditions combined, you should seek treatment for all of them and not just the major one. Also, if they see that you aren’t following your treatment, they could deny you on the grounds that you would be able to work if you followed the doctor’s orders.

Do know the difference between “own occupation” and “any occupation” on your policy

Look over your policy before filing to see whether you have an “own occupation” clause or not. You could have an “any occupation” or a modified definition of your occupation. “Own occupation” covers you if you are no longer able to perform the “substantial and material” duties of your chosen occupation. In this case, you can still collect disability even if you are able to do some other occupation. “Any occupation” requires that you are unable to work in any occupation for which you are suited based on age, education, status in life, income and experience.

Do consult an experienced disability attorney

The truth is that applying for disability is tricky and your carrier will take any opportunity to deny your claim. Even if you do not hire a disability attorney, consult with one early on in the process to make sure you are applying correctly. They can let you know the common reasons people are denied and how to avoid that. If your claim is denied, they are already familiar with your case and can come in ready to fight the denial.

[publishpress_authors_data]'s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not miss site visits, doctor’s appointments, or filing deadlines

Filing for disability is all about meeting deadlines. Failure to turn in the application or requested documents on time or missing an interview with your insurance carrier could all result in your claim being drawn out or denied. Again, your carrier will take any opportunity to deny your claim and missing an important meeting or deadline is one of them.

Do not lie

Trust me when I say that your carrier will uncover your lie. They are thorough in their process and will investigate anything you say. Be aware they will send their own doctor’s to evaluate, they will scope out your house, and they will speak to every treating physician you’ve had. If you lie, even a little bit, they will find out. Also, remember that exaggeration can be used as a lie if they have enough proof.

Do not use the words “never” or “always”

It’s best to stay aware from those two little words even if you can “never” lift above 50 pounds. The reason is that if they see any evidence that you can perform a certain activity or that you didn’t take a medication that you “always” have to take, they can deny your claim. Yes, even if it was only one time.

Do not post anything on social media

Social media is a minefield during a disability investigation. Even the most innocent of posts or pictures can be taken the wrong way. If you say you can only get out of bed for 2 hours a day and they see a picture of you roaming around a theme park, they could deny your claim even if you were having a good day and spent the rest of the week in bed. There is also no way to test sarcasm online and anything you post can be taken to be 100% true and sure. If you are unsure about anything, don’t post it.

Do not give up if your claim is denied

If your claim is denied, don’t give up. If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know there’s a chance you were wrongfully denied benefits. Surprisingly, most people do not appeal because they are so burdened or do not think it will help. If you’re denied, hire a disability lawyer, start the appeals process, and start prepping an even stronger case.


Applying for disability benefits is tough. Private disability providers make it difficult and confusing, another application process can be tricky. Make sure to always follow deadlines, provide them with all requested documents in a timely manner, and be wary of common application mistakes that can lead to your claim being delayed or denied. If you are unsure or your claim gets denied, don’t wait to consult an experienced disability insurance lawyer.

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