Social Security provides a way for people who may have a disability that prevents them from working to receive compensation. Social Security Disability Insurance, called SSDI, covers people who suffer from a medical condition that is expected to last longer than one year or result in their death. In addition, the applicant must have been employed for a certain amount of time and paid into the Social Security system. This allows them to apply for SSDI based on disability claims. However, the majority of folks who apply for SSDI coverage each year receive a disability claim denial. In the following, we will explore the five main reasons why applicants get denied, and how an attorney can help you navigate your way through the SSDI application.
1. Lack of Medical Evidence
Because you are asking Social Security for benefits before the minimum age of 62, you need to show that you have a medical condition preventing you from being able to work. Often, applicants lack proper medical evidence documenting a disability. It is vital that you have been seeking medical care for your condition, and that you have discussed this with your physician so that he or she can document your inability to work in their notes. An attorney can help you with this by reaching out to your physician to prepare a case file that is large and specific enough to satisfy the Social Security examiner.
2. Earning Too Much Money
SSDI is only available to those who cannot work. If you continue to work and earn too much money from your employment, you may be ineligible for SSDI coverage. The current limit is $1,470 per month for an applicant. Anyone who earns more than this will be considered to have “substantial gainful activity.”
3. Failing to Pursue a Claim
One of the most common reasons for a denial is a failure to pursue a claim. When a person is denied SSDI benefits, it is not the end of the process. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision of the Social Security examiner. There is actually a process for this.
The first step is to request Social Security for a reconsideration. This is basically asking the examiner to take another look at your application. While this rarely results in a claim being accepted, it does allow you to file for an appeal. This is held before an administrative law judge, where you can testify on your behalf and present evidence. You can even have an attorney from our firm represent you at the hearing. The attorney will not only ask you questions, but can also cross examine witnesses provided by Social Security, and present an independent medical examination from an expert to bolster your claim.
If the administrative law judge rules in favor of the denial of your claim, you can still appeal this decision to Social Security’s Appeals Council, or you can file a lawsuit in federal district court. Each of these can be handled with the assistance of an attorney at The Nunley Law Group.
4. The Condition Does Not Qualify
SSDI is not available to everyone who gets injured. There are a number of criteria that must be met for a claim to be approved. For example, the disability must be caused by a condition that will last longer than one year or result in death. If you get an illness like Covid or break a bone, chances are that you will recover before 12 months has elapsed. Only if your condition persists or is likely to persist for more than 12 months will you get SSDI coverage.
In addition, Social Security maintains a list of specific medical conditions that make you eligible for SSDI. If your condition is not on the list, it could be that Social Security has determined that people with this condition can do other work. If you find that your condition is not on the Social Security list, this is not the end of the story. Your attorney can send you for an independent medical examination, which can be used to challenge the Social Security Administration’s decision to deny your claim.
5. Failure to Cooperate with Social Security
While you are going through the claims process, the Social Security examiner may ask you for additional information or request that you be examined by a doctor employed by Social Security. If you fail to provide the examiner with information or to follow any other request, your claim for SSDI will be denied. If you hire an attorney, we can assist you with the process, answering all the questions, providing all of the information, and making sure you don’t miss any deadlines set by the Social Security Administration.
Call Us If You Are Planning to Apply for SSDI
If you are suffering from a disability that prevents you from working, The Nunley Law Group can assist you. We will help you navigate the SSDI process and represent you before the Social Security Administration so you can receive your entitlement benefits.