Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is already a complicated process with a lot of pitfalls, but there’s one simple mistake that ends up ruining a lot of claims: People simply fall out of touch with the state agency that’s making the decision on their case.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid this problem:

Your claim isn’t decided in your local office

Most claims go through a multi-step process on their way to an approval or a denial. Once you’ve filed your application and give the Social Security Administration (SSA) your information, your case is transferred to a state agency for development. That agency is called the Disability Determination Services (DDS).

Your claims examiner is an important contact

The claims examiner in charge of your file at the DDS is probably the most important contact point you have with SSA during this time. That’s the person who will call you if there are questions about your medical records, your treatment history, your condition or your ability to function in your job or daily life. If more evidence is needed to make a decision on your claim, that’s also the person who will coordinate your appointment for a consultative exam with a doctor or psychologist.

If you don’t stay in touch, your claim can be quickly denied

If you don’t respond to the claims examiner’s phone calls or letters, the case will be decided “as-is.” That almost always results in a denial because the claims examiner wouldn’t be trying to reach you if there weren’t questions or missing information.

For many disability applicants, the problem with staying in touch with the claims examiner is that they’re overwhelmed with the circumstances of their lives. When you aren’t well, it’s easy to overlook a phone call or notice in the mail.

Don’t let your SSDI claim get denied for a simple mistake. Find out how we can help you keep your claim on track and avoid this problem — along with many others.