Every year, the Social Security Administration denies about two-thirds of the initial Social Security Disability (SSD) claims it receives. And the agency denies an even higher percentage of claims at the first level of appeal, known as reconsideration. But the fact that your initial claim or reconsideration was turned down does not necessarily mean that you do not have a legitimate disability claim.
Why would the SSA reject a good disability claim?
There are several reasons the SSA might turn down an otherwise clear case of an applicant who is too disabled to support themselves financially. Here are a few examples.
- Insufficient treatment records. The SSA generally requires extensive medical records showing the treatment you have received to help show that your condition is long-term and debilitating. But some applications lack sufficient documentation. This can be fixed at the next level of appeal.
- You did not follow a rule. The SSA has strict guidelines for when you must submit documents, answer questions and attend examinations. If you make a mistake, it can result in a denial.
- The SSA loses touch with you. If the agency tries to contact you but cannot because you are moving or lost phone service, it will likely hold that against you.
- The SSA thinks your condition is short-term. One of the things you must prove is that you expect your condition to last for at least another year.
- You are still earning too much income. Though you do not have to be earning zero income to qualify for SSD benefits, there is a cutoff. If you earn above a certain amount, the SSA will conclude that you are not too disabled to support yourself.
Many reasons for denial are fixable on appeal. Your SSD attorney can help you take care of weak points in your case to give you the best possible chance of success on appeal.