If you are denied Social Security disability benefits, it may be due to one or a combination of reasons. Some are out of your control. Others are within your control and can help you avoid a denial the next time around.
When It’s Beyond Your Control
There are two reasons you might have been denied Social Security disability benefits that are out of your control:
Your Disability Isn’t Severe Enough
The Social Security Administration, or SSA, requires that your disability be so bad that it lasts for at least 12 months or results in death. This is why Social Security benefits claims for injuries arising out of accidents like fractured bones are often denied. Injuries like bone fractures take less than a year to heal and do not cause serious limitations.
You Earn Too Much
The rules differ depending on whether you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, or Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. SSDI, the benefit program for workers who have paid into the Social Security system for years, allows you to work a small amount when you’re collecting Social Security disability benefits. However, you can’t earn above the”substantial gainful activity” (SGA) limit, which is currently $1,180 per month. SSI, the benefit program for low-income workers, also isn’t available if you make more than the SGA limit. In addition, your SSI benefits will be reduced if your income is more than $740 to $800.
When It’s Within Your Control
There are six reasons you might be denied Social Security disability benefits that are under your control. Keep these in mind if you are applying for Social Security disability benefits:
#1: You Don’t Respond
If the SSA tries to reach you regarding your application or to schedule examinations and you don’t respond, they will deny your claim for benefits. So, it’s in your best interest to hire a disability attorney to handle communications with the SSA and respond on your behalf. It’s also a good idea to let the SSA and your attorney know how to contact you if you move while the SSA is reviewing your application.
#2: You Don’t Cooperate
If you aren’t willing to comply with requests that the SSA makes while they review your application, they will probably deny your claim. The SSA will request that you release medical records to them, as well as additional information if the medical records are incomplete or you don’t have a doctor. They could also request that you undergo a consultative examination (CE) by an SSA doctor.
#3: You Don’t Follow Doctor’s Orders
The SSA may also deny your claim because of your failure to follow your doctor’s prescribed therapy when you are fully able to do so. However, the SSA accepts certain excuses beyond your control for not following doctor’s orders. This includes:
- mental illness,
- intense fear of surgery,
- physical inability to follow prescribed therapy on your own,
- lack of money to pay for treatment,
- religious beliefs that don’t allow you to receive medical therapy, and
- being prescribed treatment that another doctor disagrees with or is not likely to result in your ability to work.
#4: Your Disability Is Caused by an Addiction
Your claim will be denied if your disability arose from a drug or alcohol addiction.
#5: You’re Convicted of a Crime or Imprisoned
If you are convicted of a crime or imprisoned after being convicted of a felony when you apply for benefits, the SSA is likely to deny your claim. The SSA will also deny your claim for benefits if you developed a disability while committing a crime or in prison.
#6: You Commit Fraud
The SSA will cut off your Social Security disability benefits if you they find that you obtained the benefits through a dishonest or fraudulent act.
Consult an Attorney If You Were Denied Social Security Disability
If your Social Security disability benefits claim has been denied and you’re considering applying again, you should consult with an attorney. Your chances of winning your claim are better if you have an attorney at your side.
To find out how to avoid being denied Social Security disability benefits, contact us today. Springfield Illinois Social Security disability attorney Donald J. Hanrahan may be able to help.