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SSA Disability - Son approved and I was denied. We have the same condition.

We recently had a user ask the following question on our disability forum, “My son and I have the same condition. He was approved but I was denied. Why?” There are a variety of reasons that you may be denied SSDI or SSI benefits and this blog will address the most common ones.

Adults denied for SSDI or SSI benefits


If you have been denied SSDI or SSI the SSA has decided that you 1) do not have a severe condition; 2) your condition is not expected to last for at least 12 continuous months; or 3) you have the ability to work. In addition, for SSDI you may also be denied if you do not have enough work credits to be considered insured. For SSI, you do not need work credits or a work history but you do need to have VERY limited income and resources.

Assuming that you had enough work credits for SSDI benefits the most common reason claimants are denied is because the SSA believes that they can train for new work. For instance, if you had severe ADD or ADHD as a child and you may have had your SSI benefits terminated when you reached 18 years of old. Did you still have the condition? Potentially, but as a young adult it is likely that you were able to get the proper medication to control your condition and that you have some type of skills that allow you perform work.

The SSA has a listing of conditions and symptoms they consider automatically disabling. Claimants who “meet a listing” will generally be approved, assuming they meet the nonmedical requirements of SSDI or SSI. If you do not have a condition which meets a listing you will have to prove that you cannot work. This is done through a medical vocational allowance. For young claimants with an education it will be VERY difficult to win benefits if your condition does not meet a listing.

Children denied SSI Benefits


Children can be denied SSI benefits if their income or their parent’s income and resources are too high, their condition is not marked and severe or it is not expected to last for at least 12 continuous months. Because children do not work or earn work credits they do not receive SSDI benefits (unless they get auxiliary SSDI from their disabled parents).

The general issues the SSA will evaluate are their ability to function (at school, home and in the community), how they can initiate and sustain activities, the support structure which his needed and the effects of their medication and treatment. The SSA has six domains of they evaluate for your child:

  1. Acquiring and using information;

  2. Attending and completing tasks;

  3. Interacting and relating with others;

  4. Moving about and manipulating objects;

  5. Caring for yourself; and,

  6. Health and physical well-being.


As you can see, the criteria listed above for a disabled child are much different than the adult criteria of proving that you cannot work. So can an adult be denied SSDI or SSI for the same condition as a child, yes, it happens all the time.
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