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Denied SSDI for other work what are my options?

It’s not unusual for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny an SSDI application because they believe the claimant can retrain for new work. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “If I recently received a notice from the SSDA that concedes that I cannot work my current job but denied my claim because they think I can retrain for new work, what are my options? What happens if I do try to get a different job but I am still not able to work?”


There are a variety of reasons that a claimant can be denied SSDI benefits: the applicant has insufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, the claimant’s condition will not last at least 12 continuous months, the claimant’s condition is not severe, or the claimant can retrain for new work.

Determining you are disabled and should not be denied SSDI

Assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI benefits, the SSA has two methods to determine whether a claimant is disabled. First, they will review your medical information contained in your medical records and decide if your conditions and symptoms “meet or equal” a listing outlined in the SSA Listing of Impairments (a list of conditions the SSA accepts to be disabling). If your condition meets or exceeds a listing they will award you disability benefits.

The second way a claimant may be found disabled is through a medical vocational allowance. If the SSA reviewed your medical records and concluded your condition does not meet or exceed a listing they will evaluate a set of factors- age, work history, transferable work skills, and education- to determine if you have the capacity to retrain for new work.

With this evaluation the SSA may concede that your condition is too severe to roof houses, for instance, but you may still have the residual mental and physical capacity to sit at a desk and be a security guard. The real question, however, is whether or not, given the factors listed above, you are able to retrain to be a security guard.

For instance, if you are a 57 year-old high school dropout who has worked unskilled labor for the last thirty years it might be almost impossible for you to perform sedentary work at a desk. The SSA, however, will assume a 24 year-old with a high school degree and some experience working in an office might have an easier time finding employment and retraining for sedentary work, even if they could no longer roof houses.

What do I do If I am denied SSDI for other work?

So what do you do if you are denied SSDI for other work? You actually have several options. First, if you believe you could retrain for new work you need to go and find a new job. If you do not believe you have the capability to perform any type of work it is time to gather more medical evidence. Because the SSA makes the disability decision based exclusively on medical information, medical data becomes critical to winning SSDI benefits and avoid being denied SSDI.

Consider also, you have 60 days from the date you are denied SSDI and receive your SSDI denial letter to file your SSDI claim. It is imperative, if you are considering appealing your SSDI denial, that you do not wait. Talk to a lawyer immediately if you need help.
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