Sometimes, it’s hard to know why the SSA denied your claim. We’ll explain major reasons for denied Social Security disability claims below.
Top 6 Reasons First-Time Disability Applicants Get Denied Benefits
1. You made a mistake filling out your application, which is called a “technical denial.”
This is the biggest reason the SSA turns down first-time applicants. In fact, it’s why 38% of first-time SSD claims get denied! If this happens to you, be sure to appeal within 60 days.
2. You’re still working when you apply for disability benefits.
One rule the SSA uses to decide if you’re eligible is, “Are you still working?” Wait until five months after your disability forces you to stop working before filing your claim. That’s because legally, the SSA has a mandatory five-month waiting period before the agency can pay benefits on approved claims.
3. You’re at full retirement age and can draw regular Social Security payments instead.
This is because SSDI payments automatically convert to Social Security benefits once you reach your full retirement age. Federal law bans anyone from getting both benefits at once. The SSA commonly refers to this as “double-dipping.”
4. Your doctor says you’ll improve enough to start working again in less than a year.
No matter how severe your condition is, if it won’t last at least 12 months, you won’t qualify for benefits.
5. You don’t regularly see a doctor to treat your disability (or didn’t provide medical evidence that supports your claim).
The SSA needs to see convincing proof that your disability keeps you from working, also known as “substantial gainful employment.” If you’re skipping medication or doctor’s visits because you cannot afford them, a lawyer can help you address this issue.
6. Your monthly earnings are $1,350 or more (even if you’re unemployed).
If you get more than that each month from any source (not just paychecks), then you make too much money to qualify. The SSA looks at your passive income from things like alimony checks, child support payments, dividends, earned interest or anything else. If it’s over $1,350/month, that “SGA amount” automatically gets your claim denied.
Still not sure what got your benefits application denied? Ask a lawyer to review your claim paperwork for free.
Related: How Much Do Disability Lawyers Charge and What Do They Do?