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4 reasons your Social Security Disability application could be denied


The Social Security Administration uses strict criteria to determine whether disabled individuals in Chicago qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. The SSD application process is also highly technical. Due to these factors, claim denial is not uncommon. In 2010, the SSA accepted just 49.3 percent of initial applications. Considering the high risk of denial, anyone seeking SSD benefits should understand the most common reasons for that outcome.

Typical mistakes

SSD applications are often denied based on direct facts about the applicant's case. The manner in which the applicant presents those facts can also be a decisive factor. Typical reasons for claim denial include:

  • Income and earnings history - To qualify for SSD benefits, an individual must have an adequate earnings record and enough recent work history. The Social Security Administration does not award benefits to people who earn more than $1,070 per month, except in special cases, such as statutory blindness. In 2012, more than 870,000 SSD claims were denied for these technical reasons, according to an annual SSA report.
  • Condition severity and medical evidence - To be considered a disabling condition, the condition must be anticipated to last at least one year or result in death. It also must prevent the individual from performing past jobs or reasonably taking up new work. Objective medical evidence from reliable sources must establish the condition and its debilitating nature. In 2010, more than 680,000 SSD claims were denied on a medical basis.
  • Outside factors affecting the condition - An applicant may be denied benefits if controllable factors might be contributing to the medical condition. For instance, the SSA will not award benefits if an applicant does not follow accepted treatment protocols, unless the applicant has a valid reason for doing so. If an applicant uses drugs or alcohol and the habit contributes to the disability, benefit denial is also likely.
  • Errors and inaccuracy - The SSA can deny a claim if it contains factual errors or appears fraudulent. Establishing credibility by providing full, accurate information is crucial for people seeking SSD benefits.

Some grounds for claim denial, such as insufficient earnings history, are beyond the applicant's control. However, many denials occur due to errors during the application process.

Preparing the claim

Unfortunately, many factors can result in claim denial. Working with an SSD attorney is one way that applicants can reduce the risk of errors. An attorney can explain the SSD evaluation process and criteria. An attorney can also help an applicant obtain appropriate medical evidence and complete the application correctly.

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