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Can I win my case after being denied twice?

Many Social Security Disability applicants want to know if their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case will ever be approved if they have been denied. A recent applicant asked, “Can I win my SSI or SSDI case if I have been denied twice?” This blog will address this question and give you a few suggestions to improve your SSDI and SSI disability application.

Why was my SSDI or SSI application denied?


To understand whether your SSI or SSDI application will be approved you need to first understand why it was denied. There are medical as well as nonmedical denials. If your SSDI or SSI claim was denied due to a nonmedical denial it will be much harder to ever win benefits.

What is a nonmedical denial?


Nonmedical denials vary based on whether you are applying for SSI or SSDI. For instance, SSDI applicants will have to prove that they have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Most workers will need approximately 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned within the 10 years prior to their date of disability.

The SSA should send you a Statement of Earnings each year which details your estimated SSDI benefits. Contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for information about your work credits or review their website at www.ssa.gov. Work credit denials can be challenged, but you will have to have evidence that the SSA miscalculated the work credit amount.

SSI also has nonmedical requirements. SSI applicants do not have to have worked and paid taxes but they must have limited income and resources. If you were denied for SSI and your income and resources were too high you will not be approved if you have been denied twice, unless your financial situation has changed.

The other common nonmedical denial is for working too much. Both SSI and SSDI applicants can be denied if they are performing substantial gainful activity, which the SSA currently considers makingmore than $1010 in 2012 for the non-blind. If you are working too much, unless you quit your job, you will NEVER be approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, regardless of the severity of your health condition.

In conclusion, if you have a nonmedical denial and your situation has not changed, it is unlikely that you will be approved, regardless of how many times you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Denied twice for medical reasons


If you have been denied SSDI or SSI twice for strictly medical reasons this means that you meet the basic nonmedical requirements of the SSI or SSDI program, but you were unable to prove your condition is severe, that it will last for 12 continuous months, or that you cannot retrain for some other type of job.

This may not seem like good news, but depending on your condition, it can be. Winning SSDI or SSI benefits the third time you apply could simply mean you need to get medical documentation to prove your case.

Steps to improve your disability case after a medical denial


Claimants who are denied benefits because they cannot prove their condition is severe or keeps them from working may not have seen the proper doctors or they may have relied on the consultative examiner’s report to prove they were disabled.

What is the most important thing to do to overcome a medical denial for SSDI or SSI benefits? Get good medical evidence which clearly documents the severity of your impairment. This has been mentioned on several blogs but cannot be overstated. The SSA will make their disability determination almost exclusively based on your current medical records; without records it is almost impossible to prove you are disabled.
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