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4 Reasons You May Be Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

When most people apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), they just assume they will be accepted and granted the benefits. However, this may not be the case.

1. You Earn Too Much Income To Qualify

SSDI is a benefit program for workers that have been paying into the Social Security system for several years, but you won’t be able to qualify if you are working above the limit that is considered to be ‘substantial gainful activity’ (SGA). In short, you are currently earning too much money for you to be considered disabled.

While you can work a small amount when applying for SSDI, it cannot be over the SGA limit, which is $1,170 per month. Additionally, income from investments will not count towards the SGA limit. Only work income can count because it proves your ability to work. Self-employed income can be a little more complicated however.

2. Your Disability Isn’t Severe Enough Or Is Temporary

In order for you to qualify for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to believe that you have an impairment that is severe enough to last at least 12 months or could result in your death. However, blind SSI applicants are an exception to this duration requirement.

There are several claims, like broken bones from a car accident, which are denied simply because they are not likely to cause a 12 month long disability. For example, most bone fractures heal in less than a year. However, if you find that your severe bone fractures haven’t healed after six months, the SSA is more likely to view your impairment as something that will last at least a year or longer.

3. Refusing To Cooperate

When it comes to proving and granting your disability, medical records are crucial. However, if you were refusing to release your records to the SSA for review, your claim is probably going to be denied. In addition, the SSA could require more information about your impairments if your medical records seem to be incomplete or if you do not have a regular treating doctor.

In these types of instances, the SSA might request for you to be examined by an SSA doctor for a consultative examination. As said before, refusing to cooperate with this request could also cause your claim to be denied.

4. You Fail To Follow Your Prescribed Treatment Or Therapy

Failing to follow your doctor’s orders when you have the ability to do so can also cause your disability benefits to be denied. However, there are certain legitimate excuses for not following your doctor’s prescribed treatment or therapy.

A few medically acceptable excuses include:

  • You have a mental disorder that is so severe that you are unable to comply with your prescribed treatment.

  • Your fear of surgery is so intense that it would not be appropriate to go through with the surgery.

  • You are physically unable to go through with therapy without assistance, such as paralysis of the arms.

  • You cannot afford your doctor recommended treatment

  • Another doctor disagrees with the treatment your doctor has prescribed you

Additionally, in order for the SSA to deny your claim for failing to follow your prescribed treatment or therapy, it must be one that is expected to restore your ability to do substantial gainful activity. If the doctor that is currently treating your condition tells the SSA that this therapy will not be able to restore your ability to work, the SSA will not fault you.