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Applying for disability benefits? Prepare for these 3 hurdles.

When you live with a disability, it's only natural to seek assistance. Unfortunately, the process isn't always easy, and programs that should help individuals in your circumstances might fall short.

Could you benefit from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? Here's what you should understand about some of the potential challenges that you might face along the way.

1. Overcoming social stigmas

The first step - making the decision to apply for benefits - is often one of the hardest. Society isn't always kind to those who genuinely need aid. Mental and physical illnesses may come with negative labels. Even claiming benefits might make you a target of judgment.

Never let other people's opinions decide how you live. There's nothing wrong with admitting that you need help and pursuing it.

2. Completing applications and meeting the burden of proof

Whether you're applying for SSDI or SSI, it's up to you to demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements. Depending on the nature of your disability, you'll need to furnish various records that support your case. With issues like mental illness and other disabling conditions that don't present outward symptoms, you may feel even more pressure to establish your eligibility. The sheer complexity of the application process can also be outright discouraging.

Don't back down. Although these hurdles are tough to surmount, pursuing SSI or SSDI benefits might provide you with the financial stability you need to live a more satisfying life. Moving forward is well worth the time and effort.

3. Filing an appeal

The Social Security Administration denies many disability claims for various reasons. Fortunately, you can appeal a denial, provided you take the right steps within the right timeframe. At this critical juncture, it's best to work with an attorney who can make a strong case for you. While denials are discouraging, an appeal may very well be the turning point in your claim.

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