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Common Reasons Your Social Security Disability Claim May Be Denied

August 27, 2016

If your SSDI or SSI claim was recently denied, rest assured you are not alone.  In fact, only about 30 percent of initial disability claims are approved. Below, we outline some of the most common reasons for claim denial that we’ve seen over and over again. Keep these in mind as you begin to evaluate the next step in your appeal process.

  1. You earn too much income.

You may feel that your wage is modest or barely livable but there are strict earnings guidelines that can cause your Social Security disability claim to be denied. If filing a claim for SSDI, your income cannot exceed what is considered to be substantial gainful activity (SGA), which, in 2016, is defined as monthly earnings of $1,130 and above. Only your income is counted for SSDI. If filing a claim for SSI, however, both work and investment incomes are counted toward the limit. The current limit is $1,500 a month. If your total income when filing or collecting benefits totals $1,500 or above, you won’t receive a payment.

  1. Your disability isn’t long or severe enough.

Although each disability case is reviewed on an individual basis, the SSA does follow the strict rule that your impairment must last at least 12 months or eventually result in your death. This is an exception for blind SSI applicants. If your medical condition does not cause severe limitations, your claim may be denied.

  1. You don’t follow prescribed therapy.

In general, the SSA expects you to follow your physician’s treatment recommendations. Following treatment shows that you are doing your best to improve your condition and possibly get back to work. If the prescribed treatment is only therapeutic and won’t have an impact on whether you are able to return to work, you may not be faulted. There are also some acceptable excuses such as mental illness, lack of funds for treatment, mobility problems, and religious believes that can exempt you from following treatment plans.

  1. You did not follow directions.

It may feel intimidating or overwhelming, but it’s extremely important to follow all instructions closely when filing a claim and to honor every request from the SSA after the claim is filed. Don’t miss any appointments or ignore requests for more information. Failure to comply could mean an automatic disability claim denial. An experienced SSI or SSDI attorney can help you navigate these requests.

  1. You did not supply enough medical evidence.

It’s a common misconception that a diagnosis of a debilitating condition is all the medical evidence you need to file a successful claim. The SSA needs to know that your condition is not only debilitating but that it hinders your ability to work. In other words, you must prove that you can’t work because of your condition. Ask your primary physician to document all your physical or mental limitations so you can show the SSA a comprehensive history of your illness and its progression. Documents such as a modified work schedule, condition-specific accommodations or doctor notes for work will also help your case.

If your SSI or SSDI disability claim has been denied, don’t give up. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our disability insurance lawyer will guide you through every step of the legal paperwork and the appeals process.


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