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Nonmedical Disability Denials

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If you have been denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) multiple times it is time to stop and evaluate your disability claim and determine why you were denied.

Do thousands of disability claimants get denied every year? Yes and many disability applicants will continue to get denied because they do not understand the difference between a nonmedical vs. medical denial and what requirements can be challenged and appealed and which ones cannot. This blog will specifically address nonmedical denials which are made at the local Social Security Administration office BEFORE the SSA has ever pulled your medical records and reviewed the severity of your health condition.

Nonmedical Denials for SSDI and SSI



  • Working too much  


If you have been denied because you are working too much this is a nonmedical denial and it cannot be challenged. What does this mean? It means that you are currently working and performingsubstantial gainful activity (SGA) which the SSA considers making more than $1010 in 2012 for the non-blind.

Work may also be considered substantial if it is comparable to work that is done for pay even if no pay or profit is realized. For example, if you are performing “volunteer” work for 35-40 hours per week the SSA is likely to determine that you are not disabled because the capacity needed to complete this work is comparable to what is needed for other types of work.

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.

  • You do not have enough work credits (SSDI only)


Every day claimants ask what they can do if they do not have enough work credits for SSDI. Although you can request a review of your denial if you believe that the SSA miscalculated your work credits or if you have proof that you do have enough work credits, in general, if you do not have enough work credits for SSDI you will either have to return to work and earn more or you will have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

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.

  • Income or Resources were too high (SSI Only)


SSDI claimants must not be working too much, as outlined above, their resource limits (assets including houses, cars, insurance, spousal assets) do not have to be below a specified limit. SSI applicants, however, must have limited income and resources.

For instance, theSSI program requires SSI applicants to have less than $2,000 in resources (per individual) or $3,000 in resources (per married couple). There are many resources which are exempt.

SSI applicants who have resources above the allowable limit will be denied SSI benefits and cannot generally challenge the denial but they can apply as soon as their resources dip below the allowable limit.

Keep in mind, your spouse’s income may also be so high that it can eliminate your chance of getting SSI benefits.

So, if you have been denied SSI or SSDI benefits make sure you understand if the denial is for a nonmedical reason which is generally difficult to challenge. If you do not meet the nonmedical requirements for either SSI or SSDI stop wasting your time and do not keep applying over and over again.
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