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Denied before, will this hurt my disability case?

Many Social Security disability claimants want to know if they can be denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the past and if this will “count against them” if they apply again. The answer is it depends on why you were denied.

If you have been denied in the past and nothing has changed than it is unlikely that you will now have your SSDI or SSI case approved. If, however, you were denied disability benefits and you were able to “fix” whatever was wrong with your case than applying again a second or third time may increase your chances to receive SSI or SSDI.

Let’s review a few different scenarios to clarify exactly what I am talking about.

Denied SSDI because of lack of work credits


The Social Security Administration makes their disability determination based on a claimant’s medical records, but if the claimant does not meet the basic nonmedical requirements of the SSDI program than the SSA will never pull the claimant’s medical records; they will be denied automatically.

So if you were denied because you did not have enough work credits for SSDI and you simply keep applying over and over again without returning to work to accumulate more credits, you will continue to be denied indefinitely. The SSA does not “hold against you” the fact that you have applied before, but they do not change their disability decision.

Denied SSD for Refusing proper medical treatment


What if you are not going to the doctor or you have not been following your doctor’s treatment plan?  Many claimants want to know if they can be denied SSDI or SSI benefits if they refuse to follow their doctor’s treatment plan or if they are not seeing a doctor. Yes, the Social Security Administration can deny benefits if you are not following your doctor’s orders. Why? Because the SSA can argue that your refusal to follow the prescribed treatment plan eliminates your chances of restoration to a level that would allow you to perform substantial gainful activity.

Now, let’s assume that you applied and were denied for the reason listed above but before you applied for SSI or SSDI a second time you went and saw all the proper doctors and specialists and began to take the right medications or therapy treatments. Now, after some time if you continue to be unable to work or perform substantial gainful activity it may be possible to prove, with your new medical evidence, that you are disabled and the SSA may approve your case the second time you apply.

Denied for SSI because your resources and income are too high


What if you applied for SSI but you were denied benefits because your income or resource level was too high? Applying again and again when nothing has changed will result in continual denials. But what if your resource and income level decreases under the allowable limit for SSI? In this case, assuming you meet all the other criteria for SSI benefits, the SSA may approve your claim the second time you apply.

In Conclusion


The answer to the question does the SSA “hold is against me” if I apply again and again is not really the right question to ask. Claimants should make sure they understand why they were denied SSI or SSDI benefits and fix the issue BEFORE applying again and again.
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