Understanding Why People Get Denied of Disability Benefits


Between 2001 and 2010, only 28% of disability benefit claims were approved on their first try. The other 72% were either reconsidered, appealed, pending, or denied. Yet, the number of denials was much higher than those reconsidered and those who appealed. Between 2008 and 2019, 110,000 people died waiting for their appeals to be approved.

People had to wait years for their cases to be solved. And they didn’t even get to live to see the day their applications get approved. There have also been countless cases of people being wrongfully denied their benefits. It’s a tragedy and an injustice. If you want to avoid getting your application getting denied, here’s what you need to know:

Common Reasons Applications Get Denied

Lack of medical evidence

If you don’t have enough medical evidence to prove that your condition stops you from doing work, your application will be denied. Monthly visits to your doctor may not be enough evidence. You will need written documentation of how your condition impairs you from working. An example of good evidence is a doctor’s notes asking you to avoid doing certain tasks at work. Or excusing you from work due to your condition.

Working with a monthly income of $1,310 or higher

It’s stated on the SSA’s website that if you’re working and earning above $1,310 per month, you aren’t considered disabled. Again, the SSA will only approve cases of those unable to work and unable to earn as high as $1,310. If you have a part-time job and are earning lower than that, you still have a chance to get your application approved.

woman calling someone

Not following your treatment

If you have treatment or medication for your condition but aren’t taking it, your application will be denied. The SSA may think that you are purposely avoiding treatment, so you don’t have to work. If your treatment helps you with your condition and allows you to work and find out you aren’t undergoing treatment to avoid work, they will deny your case. If you take your medication and follow your treatments and your condition still impairs you from working, then you can get accepted.

Previously denied

If you have previous denials, the chances of your application getting approved get significantly lower. That is why instead of filing for a new claim, you should appeal instead. People who get their cases appealed have a higher chance of getting accepted.

Advice on Getting Application Accepted the First Time

  • Get in touch with your doctor and let them know you are applying for disability benefits. They will help provide you with medical records that can help you get approved. Provide as much medical evidence, records, and history as you can. This is a sure way to get your application approved. The more, the better.
  • Review the Blue Book to see if your condition meets the criteria for disability benefits. Some people may not realize that their condition doesn’t meet the criteria. That is why they often get denied. If your medical condition is not in their Blue Book, you will have to provide additional information and fill up other forms.
  • When it comes to filling up your application forms, do not simply answer with “yes” or “no.” Be very detailed when it comes to describing your condition. And never leave a question blank.
  • Hire an attorney that can deal with social security claims. They will not only help if you need to appeal for your disability benefits. They can even help you with the application process itself. And more importantly, increase your chances of getting the benefits.

What to Do if You Get Denied

As mentioned above, if your application gets denied, do not file for a new claim. You should file for an appeal instead. You only have two months (60 days) to file for reconsideration. Reconsideration is the first step to the appeal process. In this phase, they get another disability claims examiner to review your case. Some states do not have a reconsideration phase. Others go straight to the hearing. The chances of your case getting approved at the hearing phase are much higher.

Applying for disability benefits can be challenging. Not to mention, the process takes so long. The initial application phase can take anywhere between three to six months. If you get denied, you have to wait another two months for reconsideration. And another few months for your hearing. It can take up to years. That is why you need to ensure that you get your claim approved right at the initial phase. Remember to follow the advice mentioned above. And take note of why many claims get denied. That will help you get your claim approved faster and easier.

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