6 Main Reasons Why Social Security Disability Benefits Claim Are Denied
It is often the case that when someone receives a letter from the Social Security Administration denying their application for Social Security disability benefits, they’re a bit shocked because they don’t necessarily understand what went wrong. While there are many reasons why Social Security disability benefits applications are denied, here are some primary reasons:
- You earn too much income. Remember that if you have worked during the past 12 months and earned more than roughly $1,010 a month, then the Social Security Administration considers you able to maintain “Substantial Gainful Activity,” which basically means they don’t consider you disabled enough not to be able to work. Note that income from investments is not counted as a result of Substantial Gainful Activity.
- Your application lacked enough medical evidence of your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work. This may be the BIGGEST reason why Social Security disability claims are denied. Your medical condition may be severe, and you may have sufficient non-medical evidence to demonstrate how severe it is and how difficult it makes your life. However, your medical condition must be severe enough to significantly disrupt your ability to work. Also, the burden of proof is on you, the applicant, to seek treatment and follow prescribed orders by your doctors.
The applicant themselves (along with the help of their doctor(s)) must keep very detailed medical records about the cause of their medical condition, the progression of the condition leading to the disability, any treatment the applicant has had and/or continues to receive to treat the medical condition, and how the medical condition interferes with the applicants ability to work. All too often the evidence supplied by the applicant is not enough to convince the Social Security Administration that they are disabled to the point where they can’t work.
- Your disability is not long term. With the exception of blindness, your disability must last for at least 12 months. Many people file an application for Social Security disability benefits when their medical condition is more short- term and likely to last for less than 12 months, i.e. bone fractures.
- You fail to follow the prescribed treatment from your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed treatment to improve or cure your medical condition, and you have refused to follow that treatment plan, you will likely be denied Social Security disability benefits. There are recognized and acceptable exceptions for failing to follow prescribed treatment, for example, your vision is impaired to the point where you cannot accurately measure your medication, or you can’t afford to pay for your treatment.
- The Social Security Administration (or the Disability Determination Services) cannot find you. This one may sound too simple to be true, however it is not uncommon for an applicant to move or change phone numbers and not notify the Social Security Administration of the change to their contact information. If the Social Security Administration or the Disability Determination Services can’t find you to communicate with you regarding your application, schedule examinations, or to discuss the information you provided in support of your case, then likely your application will be denied.
- You refuse to cooperate with the investigation. The Social Security Administration or the Disability Determination Services may request your medical records, and or that you be examined by a doctor working on behalf of the Social Security Administration, in further investigating your disability claim. If you refuse to cooperate with these requests, your claim will likely be denied.