Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a long and strenuous process. The majority of applicants are denied benefits both the first and second times that they apply, which can cause many people to become discouraged. While it is important to not give up and to keep appealing for reconsideration, there are many reasons why the Social Security Administration may deny your claim. In the eyes of disability examiners, these reasons are all legitimate and solid enough to deny an applicant benefits.
Below, several common reasons for denial are summarized and discussed.
Your disability is too short-lived
The Social Security Administration is very strict about who receives disability benefits. One of the biggest reasons applicants are denied benefits is because their disability is not expected to last long enough. Under Social Security law, your disability must be believed to last at least 12 months or to result in death. The Social Security Administration will not award SSI or SSDI benefits to an individual who has been injured if that injury is expected to heal in a matter of months. Each case is evaluated individually, but most minor injuries or disabilities will not be awarded benefits.
You make too much money
Even if you become injured and are diagnosed with the most life-altering disability imaginable, the Social Security Administration will not be sympathetic to your cause if you make what they consider to be “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). If your income is above the SGA limit, $1,070/month for the year 2014, you will be unable to receive SSDI benefits. It is important to note that this value of $1,070 only applies to income earned through working a job, and not income through investments. If you are able to work and earn “enough” money, you will not be considered disabled.
Individuals wishing to receive SSI benefits are also limited by the amount of money they have. Different from SSDI, which you earn by working throughout your life, SSI is the Social Security disability option available for low-income individuals. When the Social Security Administration considers your application for SSI, they will consider two things: 1) you cannot be making more than the SGA limit of $1,070/month, and 2) the income limit for both your earned and unearned income cannot exceed $1,500/month. When it comes to SSI, the closer you are to making the equivalent of $1,500/month, the less money you can be awarded. After your monthly income exceeds approximately $700, your payments will begin to be reduced. If at any point you are earning $1,500/month or more, your SSI payments will be completely eliminated.
You are difficult to work with
As mentioned earlier, the Social Security Administration guards their disability funds strictly. Only those individuals who are deemed to be severely disabled will receive payments of any kind. During the application process, you must cooperate with the SSA as much as possible. Representatives from the SSA may want to meet with you to discuss paperwork, schedule medical evaluations, and review your medical records. You will need to provide all the necessary information to the SSA, and be willing to meet with government medical examiners if requested to do so. Keep your doctor and your attorney informed, and keep your contact information up to date so the SSA can always get ahold of you.
We will continue with “Why the Social Security Administration is Denying Your Claim: Part 2” on September 1.