For many, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a life line, so it’s very important to file correctly, and do everything in your power to make sure you get it if you really do need the assistance.
You may think that because entitlement to Social Security benefits at a certain age is automatic, so is your eligibility for SSDI, but it is not. According to the most recent statistics, there were more than 2.1 million claims for SSDI benefits in 2017 and just over 762,000 awards. This means that over 65% of SSDI applications were denied. As if being disabled and unable to work isn’t stressful enough, you may be faced with a denial of benefits from SSDI.
If you are ready to file for benefits with SSDI, you want to give yourself the best chance of approval. Here are several of the most common reasons for SSDI claim denial:
You Make Too Much Money
When you apply for SSDI, it’s essential that you meet the qualifications of the program, and one of those relates to monthly income. When you collect SSDI, you can earn some income, but not much. The program has a limit called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), which you cannot exceed while collecting benefits. For non-blind people in 2018, that limit is $1,180 per month. Only wages count towards this limit, so income from investments would not matter in the calculation.
Insufficient Proof of Disability
To qualify for benefits under SSDI, you must have a disability that is either expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death. Some claims, such as those related to injuries from car or truck accidents, may be denied because the disability is not expected to last for 12 months or more. In addition to the condition itself, you must have limitations that prevent you from working.
One of the biggest reasons for a denial of SSDI benefits is a failure to establish disability. The documentation you include with your application should paint a clear picture of your physical or mental impairment and how your condition interferes with your ability to work.
There should be detailed medical records included with your application with information about each of the doctors that have provided treatment, hospitals or clinics that you’ve visited, medical tests you’ve received, and any medication prescribed. These records can not only document your medical condition but also show that there has been a progression that has led to your disability status.
You Are Uncooperative
Your request for benefits may be denied if you don’t provide the correct contact information or if you fail to follow up as requested. Including your correct address and phone number is a good place to start, but you will need to update this information if anything changes while you have an application pending. If SSDI requests any supplemental information, you should provide this immediately. Also, you will need to attend scheduled hearings and remain proactive with your case until it is approved. Another reason that your claim could be denied is if you fail to cooperate with prescribed medical treatment that could restore your ability to work.
Other Reasons for Denial
There are a few other reasons that your SSDI claim could be denied, some that may be beyond your control once it’s time to apply for benefits. If you’ve been convicted of certain crimes or your disability is the result of a criminal act or incarceration, you may be denied benefits. Also, the Social Security Administration may deny benefits to someone whose alcoholism or drug addiction is a contributing factor in their disability.
Speak with Qualified Social Security Disability Attorney
Unfortunately, the SSDI claims process is anything but straightforward. Even if you are not approved for benefits on the first try, it’s important that you speak with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who can walk you through the process and handle your request for reconsideration. Statistics show that more than 60% of these denied claims are later approved by an administrative law judge (ALJ) when the claimant has representation.
At the Alsobrook Jackson Law Firm, we understand the Social Security Disability process and can strengthen your case. Our knowledgeable disability attorney can help with your initial SSDI filing or represent you in an appeal. Contact our office today at 334.737.3718 or online to schedule a free consultation.