There are many reasons that the Social Security Administration can use to deny SSDI benefits and it is important to know these prior to submitting an application. Understanding these reasons can help ensure that an individual's claim is not denied or delayed.
#1 - Income is Too High
It is not uncommon for individuals who are still working to be engaged in "substantial gainful activity." However, if that employment generates more than $1,170 per month in income, then the claim will be denied unless the individual is blind in which case the limit is $1,950 per month.
#2 - It is a Short-Term Disability
The Social Security Administration requires that the disability be severe enough to persist a minimum of 12 months. This includes claims by those who are filing disability claims because of broken bones or toxic exposures that don't cause permanent damage. The only exceptions to the short-term disability requirements are for individuals whose conditions are considered terminal or for those who are blinded. These generally receive automatic approval.
#3 - Insufficient Work History
The SSA requires individuals to have a minimum number of work credits prior to applying. Generally, workers between the ages of 31 and 42 need to have a minimum of 20 credits to qualify for SSDI disability. Younger workers under the age of 24 may qualify if they have 6 credits, and those between the ages of 24 and 31 may qualify if they have 12 credits. The number of credits required rises with age and those who do not meet the minimum requirements for their age demographic may have their claims denied.
#4 - Refusal of Recommended Therapy
SSA requires patients to adhere to the medical therapy and advice of their physician. If a patient does not do this, then the SSA can deny SSDI benefits. However, there are some exceptions Individuals may be "forgiven" if they have a mental illness that makes it impossible to adhere to the prescribed therapy, of they have an intense and documented fear of the recommended therapy, such as fear of surgery. They may also be excused if they do not have sufficient assets to pursue the treatment or their religious beliefs prohibit them from undergoing a particular therapy.
A nearby disability lawyer can help individuals prepare their SSDI claims and navigate the application process. Because the SSA can deny claims for many reasons, hiring an attorney can help reduce the risk of denial and a delay of needed benefits.