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Why did the SSA deny my SSDI claim?

Thousands of workers become disabled each year and are unable to work. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “If I am sick and I cannot work why would the SSA deny my SSDI claim?”

Most workers don’t realize there are millions of disability applicants each year. They also don’t realize that out of those millions of applicants, a mere 30% are approved the first time they apply for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). So if you have been denied SSDI benefits you are in good company with millions of other workers who have also been denied, many of whom are seriously disabled.

Why was my SSDI claim denied?


If you have been denied SSDI benefits the first step is to closely review your denial letter. The SSA will send you a confirmation or denial letter an estimated 90 days from the date you apply (this time frame could be much longer in certain parts of the country).

If you have been denied the SSA will list the reason and what you can do to appeal your SSDI claim. Keep in mind, however, many denials cannot be appealed. Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons your SSDI claim may have been denied.

1. You lack sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI.

One of the most common reasons your SSDI claim will be denied is because you have not worked or paid enough into the SSA system to be considered “insured” for SSDI benefits. If you lack work credits there is no reason to appeal your denial; you will continue to be denied unless you go back to work and earn enough work credits to be insured.

Credits cannot be bought, sold, or borrowed from another worker. They must be earned on your own work record. If returning to work is absolutely not an option your only other way to get disability benefits is through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Keep in mind, however, you will not qualify for SSI benefits if your income and resource level is too high.

2. You are working too much or making too much money when you submitted your SSDI claim.

Claimants who are working too many hours or who are making too much money when they submit their SSDI claim will automatically be denied SSDI benefits. There is no reason to apply a second time or submit an appeal unless you have stopped working or you have substantially reduced your level of work so your income is below the allowable thresh hold.

3. Your condition is not severe or will not last 12 continuous months.

Another reason you can be denied benefits is if the SSA believes your condition is not severe or it will not last at least 12 continuous months. If you disagree with their determination you will need to appeal your SSDI claim denial within 30 days and submit additional medical evidence to prove your case.

As mentioned above, after you have evaluated your case and determined whether you can appeal your denial, if you decide you can, you will need to submit your reconsideration paperwork within 30 days from the date your received your denial letter.