If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your claim for disability benefits, does that mean you cannot file a disability appeal? The answer is you have the right to file a Social Security disability appeal. However, before you file an appeal for reconsideration, you should first understand why the SSA denied you disability benefits.
Why Was My Social Security Disability Claim Denied?
The SSA can deny your disability claim for one or more reasons. Here are 3 reasons why you may be denied disability benefits:
1. Your Medical Condition Does Not Qualify for Disability Benefits
The most common reason why the SSA denies disability claims is because applicants do not meet the medical guidelines that are published in the Blue Book. Dozens of qualifying medical conditions list in the Blue Book, as well as the symptoms that make an applicant eligible for financial assistance. Even if you live with a qualifying disability, you might not qualify for benefits because you did not submit enough persuasive evidence.
Evidence to submit includes the results of diagnostic tests, as well as a detailed description of your treatment programs and physical therapy sessions. The SSA also wants to review a statement submitted by your physician that provides a prognosis on whether you are expected to make a full or partial recovery.
If you do not meet the medical guidelines published in the Blue Book, the SSA might ask you to complete a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment (RFC), which measures your ability to perform job-related tasks.
2. You Earn Too Much Money
The SSA refers to substantial gainful activity (SGA) to determine whether an applicant earns too much money to qualify for disability benefits. You can work while you apply for and collect disability benefits, but you cannot work enough to exceed the SGA limit established annually by the SSA. In 2024, the monthly maximum SGA for blind workers is $2,590. For non-blind applicants, the monthly maximum SGA sits at $1,550.
The SSA adjusts the SGA limit before the start of a new year by factoring in the rise of the cost of living index.
3. You Have Not Missed Work Long Enough
The primary reason for the disability program managed by the SSA is to help applicants living with a debilitating medical condition make up for the wages lost because they can no longer work. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have missed work for 12 consecutive months. The only exemption from the 12-month rule is applicants that submit a disability claim for blindness.
You cannot miss work for six months, work a couple of months, and then miss work for another six months to become eligible for disability benefits. Time missed from work must be 12 consecutive months, which you prove by submitting copies of your monthly bank statements, as well as copies of the timekeeping records kept by your employer.
Get Help with Your Claim
If the SSA denied your claim for Social Security benefits, you have the right to file an appeal for reconsideration. Working with a disability attorney can help you submit a more convincing claim the second time around. A lawyer also can help you submit an original claim that includes overwhelming evidence that you live with an SSA-approved disability.
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