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Social Security Disability denial, what do I do next?

If you received a Social Security disability denial form the Social Security Administration, you are not alone. The SSA estimates that up to 70% of first-time disability applicants will receive a Social Security Disability denial. While a certain percentage of these claimants do not meet the basic requirements of disability- they are currently working too much, they do not have sufficient work credits to be insured, or they have a short-term disability- other claimants, who should be approved, are denied.

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “If I have received a Social Security Disability denial what do I do next?” The answer to this question depends on why you were denied. To find out the exact reason you were denied you can review your Social Security Disability denial letter. Let’s examine possible denials and what your course of action might be for each reason.

You lack sufficient work credits for SSDI benefits


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is only awarded to claimants who have worked and earned sufficient work credits to be insured for benefits. If you have not worked enough or paid enough into the SSA system, you will receive a Social Security Disability denial regardless of the severity of your condition.

Some claimants ask if they can share benefits with another person or “borrow” benefits from their spouse. No, to be insured you must produce the work credits through your own work.

Received Social Security Disability denial because your condition will not last 12 continuous months


Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income is only awarded to claimants who have a severe health condition which is expected to last for 12 continuous months or result in death. Claimants who cannot prove their condition is long-term will be denied benefits.

If you have been denied for this reason and you believe your condition will last longer than 12 continuous months, you will need to find more medical proof to prove your condition is long-term.

Working too much to get SSDI or SSI benefits


Claimants who are working or earning too much money will be denied SSDI and SSI benefits. Disability benefits are only offered to claimants who cannot work. Although you may be able to work VERY part-time, if you are working too much when you apply for benefits, the SSA will automatically deny your disability case.

Steps after a disability denial


Some denials cannot be overcome. For instance, if you lack sufficient work credits for SSDI benefits you may apply for SSI benefits (which are not based on your work history) but even if you apply a second time or appeal your SSDI denial, you will continue to be denied unless you have gone back to work and earned more credits.

So what do you do if you are denied SSDI or SSI benefits? You can appeal the denial, you can go back to work, or you can apply a second time. Make sure you understand why you were denied. As mentioned above, if the SSA has said your condition is not severe or it will not last 12 continuous months, make sure you get more medical evidence to prove your case before you appeal your denial.