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Denied for SSDI should I just go back to work?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is awarded to claimants who can prove they have a severe health condition that does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have a severe health condition. I applied for SSDI benefits but they told me that I could retrain for new work so they denied my case. Now I am wondering if I should just go back to work or should I just appeal my SSDI denial?”

disabled-cant-work

Why going back to work is always the best option after you have been denied…if you can


Disability benefits provided by the SSA are supposed to be for claimants who absolutely cannot work. The fact that you are even able to ask this question tells me that you believe that you have the residual functional ability to perform some type of job available in the national economy.

If this is true, you will need to attempt to gain the skills and education to find new work. Although this might be tough, most people will tell you that there is quite a bit of pride which comes to those who are able to earn a living for themselves and their families.

Now, there is good news. Let’s assume you attempt to return to work in a job which is less strenuous. You attempt to work for three to six months and find that you are unable to adapt to a sedentary job. This attempt actually looks good when you decide to apply for SSDI a second time.

Why? Because now you will have evidence that despite your best effort, you have some symptoms or limitations which do not allow you to perform sedentary work.

For example, maybe you have discovered that your severe back issue does not allow you to sit for six hours per day. Maybe you cannot lift more than 5 pounds, or you have to get up and walk around every 15 minutes, something your boss probably won’t be too jazzed to discover.

If you find this is the case you can apply for SSDI benefits again and you will have a better chance of not getting denied.

What if I decide to appeal my case after I am denied?


Let’s assume, however, that you decide that there is no job you can retrain to perform. For instance, if you have been a construction worker for the last 20 years and the SSA claims you can do sedentary work.

The first step is to review the criteria for sedentary work. Find out what limitations would exclude you from this type of work. After you have these exclusions it’s time to review your medical information and find out if you can gather more medical evidence which proves you cannot do this type of job. Talk to your doctor and find out if he is willing to complete a residual functional capacity form (RFC) for you to bolster your case.

Bottom Line:

If the SSA says you can retrain for new work and you think that you can, you need to go and find a job. If you do not think you can work, however, it’s time to file your appeal and get more medical information to prove your SSDI case. The more medical evidence you have the better chance your case will not be denied.

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