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The reasons for denying Social Security disability benefits

| Sep 30, 2020 | Social Security Disability |

On the surface, it appears to be disheartening news. The U.S. government denies nearly two-thirds of first-time applications for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. This is a stunning revelation for many people who due to an illness, injury or physical or mental disability are no longer able to work.

You need the money to help support you and your family. And you wonder why the Social Security Administration (SSA) turned its back on you. Your situation is more common than you think, so the next step is filing an appeal. One thing working in your favor is that the SSA approves most appeals. Still, the SSA’s initial decision eats at you, and you wonder why it rejected your initial application.

Ability to work other jobs is main reason

According to an SSA statistical report, nearly 513,000 workers in 2017 were denied in their applications for SSD benefits. Here are the reasons and percentage breakdowns for the denials:

  • The worker had the ability to perform other jobs (40.6%)
  • The reported ailment was not severe enough to warrant the benefits (23.8%)
  • The worker had the ability to carry out his or her past work (9.9%)
  • The health or physical impairment is not expected or did not last at least one year (5%)

The remaining reasons — comprising 20.8% of the denials — included the impairment was caused through alcoholism or drug addiction, lack of medical evidence, failing to cooperate, failing to abide by prescribed treatment, the decision not to continue with the claim, and returning to work before the disability was established.

Keep in mind that an initial rejection is not permanent. You have a strong chance of securing SSD benefits through an appeal. An experienced attorney is an ally you will not regret having.