Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or disability benefits, is a complicated process. Most applicants’ claims are initially denied, and many people have to appeal the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s decision multiple times before they are granted benefits. If you have applied for disability and your claim was denied, you may want to consider hiring a disability lawyer. Working with an experienced professional like J. Robert Surface can make the appeal process much easier and more effective. Not sure why your claim was denied? A disability lawyer can help you reach out to the SSA to find out exactly what caused them to reject your claim. In the meantime, we’ve listed some of the most common reasons for disability denial below, so take a look to see if any of them apply to your situation. If you still have questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
You need to have accrued a certain number of Social Security work credits in order to qualify for disability benefits. This number varies depending on the age at which your disability began. Work credits are awarded based on your total yearly wages, and the amount of earnings needed per credit changes annually. Click here to find the current amount needed for a work credit. You can earn up to four work credits per year. In general, according to the SSA, most people need 40 credits to be eligible for disability, and 20 of them must have been earned in the 10 years previous to the year one’s disability began. For this reason, many disability claims are denied for people younger than 50 years old (though there are exceptions for younger workers with legitimate disabilities). The SSA may expect you to find alternate work if you are under age 50, even if it can’t be in your previous field due to your disability. When helping you appeal your case, a disability lawyer will present any existing evidence that you are not able to work any job in the future (or at least for the next year). To learn more about work credits (and everything else you need to qualify for disability benefits), visit the SSA’s dedicated webpage.
The SSA doesn’t offer part-time benefits or worker’s compensation, so in order to qualify for disability benefits, you must prove that your disability is expected to last more than one year. If you’ve already been out of work for a year due to your disability, you don’t have to worry about this. However, if you applied for benefits less than one year after your disability began, the SSA may not have reason to believe you’ll be disabled for a full year, which is why they denied your claim. You may have to wait until a full year has passed since your disability began, then appeal the SSA’s decision. A disability lawyer will demonstrate that your disability is long-lasting (or perhaps permanent) when helping appeal your claim.
Your monthly income must be under the SSA’s income threshold in order for you to qualify for disability benefits. If your income is higher, you are considered to be engaged in “Substantial Gainful Activity”; in other words, you’re able to make enough money by working to not need disability benefits (in the eyes of the SSA). If you make a monthly income amount that’s close to the threshold, you can assume that your claim will be denied. The income limit for disability is set by the government and changes yearly. Click here to find the current disability income threshold.
Your claim may have been denied because you were defensive or dismissive to SSA examiners over the phone, or because you failed to turn in your paperwork on time. It’s important to be respectful and cooperative with all representatives from the SSA, as this will lead to a higher chance of your claim being approved. Remember: No one has a right to disability benefits, and receiving them is a privilege. It’s extremely easy for a claims examiner to find a reason to deny your claim, especially if you ignore their calls, use profanity over the phone or generally give them a hard time as they try to assess your disability status.
Medical records are crucial to proving that you have a disability that will last for at least a year. Submitting a copy of your medical records to the SSA will show the examiners that you have good reason to claim disability benefits. If you don’t turn in your records, or if you don’t have any because you have never sought medical treatment for your condition, your claim will be denied. Without proof that you have sought care related to your disability, the SSA won’t take your claim seriously.
If one of the situations above applies to you, contact our office as soon as possible to discuss your next steps. With the office of J. Robert Surface on your side, you’ll have a better chance of hearing back quickly from the SSA — and a better chance of having your claim approved. The SSA will take note of the fact that you have retained counsel, which may lead their examiners to take a closer (and more serious) look at your claim. They may also make a better effort to contact your attorney to resolve outstanding issues with your application.
Don’t let too much time pass before you take action, as this can signal to the SSA that your disability isn’t impacting your life in a significant way. Call us at any time to schedule your initial consultation. We’re here to help.
If you have questions, we are available 24/7 at (864) 235-0886. There is no guarantee you will win benefits if you apply. The office of J. Robert Surface, Attorney at Law is located at 513 E Greer St, Honea Path, SC 29654. He proudly serves clients from Greenville, Clemson and Spartanburg.
513 East Greer StHonea Path, SC 29654864-235-0886