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Why Do Social Security Disability Benefits Get Denied?


If you have become disabled and expect to be unable to work for an extended period of time, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. However, you may be anxious about the application process. It’s all so confusing. How can you get your application approved in a timely manner so you can receive benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a mystery to many workers. They may not know that they have to earn it. They may be unaware of what they need to do if they become disabled and unable to work. As a result, claims often get denied.

Nearly two-thirds of initial applications for SSDI are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). During the first appeal (reconsideration), only 8% of claims will be approved. The odds of approval are even worse at the hearing level, with just 2% of claimants succeeding. By this point, claimants simply give up or die waiting to get approved for benefits.

One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will experience a disability at some point in their working life, so it helps to be prepared. Improve your chances of an approved claim by knowing these top reasons why claims get denied.

Not Meeting the Work History Requirements

Not everyone is eligible for SSDI. You must have adequate work history, which depends on your age. If you are younger than 24 years old, you must have worked at least 1.5 years in the last three years. If you are between 24 and 30 years old, you must have worked half of the time since you turned 21. For example, if you are 27 years old, you must have worked three years out of the last six years. If you are age 31 or older, you must have worked five of the last 10 years. To receive benefits, you must also be at least age 21 and have not yet reached full retirement age. 

Inadequate Documentation 

The SSA needs to know that you are truly disabled and unable to work, so the agency requires thorough documentation. Your ability to perform substantial gainful activity is a critical part of the SSDI application. Therefore, you will need solid evidence, which includes diagnoses, medical tests, ER and doctor visits, and treatment history, such as prescription drugs and surgeries. Include any other relevant medical details to show that you have been getting regular treatment for your medical condition. If you have an invisible disability, such as mental disorders or cognitive dysfunctions, documenting how the disability influences your activities of daily living is especially important.

Not Using an SSDI Representative

The SSA won’t tell you that you have the right to retain a representative to help you, so don’t go through the process on your own. Experienced advocates can confirm your eligibility and know what documentation is needed for medical listings. A claimant with an SSDI representative is 23% more likely to get their application approved and receive benefits in six months compared to 1-2 years.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits

Now that you know why so many Social Security disability benefits applicants get denied, you can ensure your application is as thorough as possible.

See how a White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can ensure you submit a complete application. Avoid delays and denials. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (914) 228-1770 or fill out the online form.



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