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Why Does the SSA Deny Disability Claims?

You've heard the statistic: up to 70% of all Social Security Disability applications are denied the first time around. At first glance, it seems unfair. Doesn't Social Security Disability exist to help people who can't work because of an injury or illness? Don't Social Security taxes come out of your paycheck every pay period? How can the Social Security Administration do this to a hardworking American? 


It's easy to get worked up about something that appears to be a slight against you, but in truth, most claims that are denied are due to a variety of factors. You have to be prepared to see the process through to the end, which can take up to two years.

Reasons Your Claim Might Be Denied

  • You make too much money
  • Your disability is expected to be short term (less than 12 months in duration)
  • Your disability isn't severe enough
  • The SSA can't find you
  • You won't cooperate with the SSA
  • You fail to follow doctor's orders for your treatment
  • Your disability is a result of alcoholism or addiction
  • You have been convicted of a crime and/or are incarcerated
  • Your claim is determined to be fraudulent
  • You do not have sufficient medical documentation to support your claim
  • You haven't been in the workforce long enough to qualify
  • Your condition isn't considered a disability according to the SSA guidelines
  • The SSA determines that you are still able to work, even if it's in a different but related job
  • Your application is missing critical documentation

If Your Claim is Denied

Most people entering the SSDI process understand that there is a high likelihood their initial claim will be denied and they will need to request a reconsideration. However,up to 89% of reconsiderations are denied, for many of the same reasons as listed above. If your initial claim is denied, you may want to speak with an attorney experienced in SSDI claims before you enter the reconsideration process. Your attorney will examine your initial claim and help you to correct the issues that may be causing the denial as well as build a case that has a better chance of success.

The Margin for Error

With so many reasons for denial and the lengthy process that claims must follow before disability is awarded, it might seem like an impossible task to see it through to the end. Just remember, your disability claim must pass through the hands of many government representatives on its way to a final decision, and any one of them can make a mistake in handling your claim. If you are unable to continue working, your SSDI claim shouldn't add to the stress of your situation. When you contact an attorney early in the claim process, it can mean the difference between a successful claim and a final denial.

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