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SSI denial what should I do next

Turned down for SSI but I know I should qualify


It’s not unusual for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient to receive an SSI denial. In fact, the SSA estimates first-time disability denials could be as high as 75%. Recently on our disability forum we had a SSI applicant ask, “If I received an SSI denial but I know I should qualify, what should I do?” The answer depends on why you were denied.


Do you really qualify for SSI?


The first question that needs to be reviewed is, “Do you really qualify for SSI?” Unfortunately, the process to receive SSI benefits can be so complicated many SSI applicants don’t really know the requirements and may assume, often incorrectly, that they should qualify when they really should not. For instance, you could be VERY sick and not be able to work for at least 12 continuous months but you might not meet the other non-medical requirements for SSI and will receive an SSI denial.

For instance, to qualify for SSI you will also have to have very limited income and resources. The SSA will consider the income from any employment you might have and also your spouse’s income, if you are married, and any other unearned income. For instance, if you are not able to work but you inherit money from an aunt, if the amount is too high, you may not qualify for SSI. Also, if your spouse is working or you are living with someone providing food or shelter to you, you may not qualify for SSI benefits.

SSI denial but all requirements were met


Now, assuming you do meet the requirements (low income, low resources, condition which is so severe you cannot work, condition will last for 12 continuous months) and you were still denied, then there are certain steps you can take.

The first step is to appeal the SSI denial within 60 days from the date of the denial letter. In most parts of the country this first appeal is called a reconsideration, and the instructions for filing an appeal should be included with your SSI denial letter.

What do you do to fight an SSI denial?


Some disability applicants will talk to a disability lawyer prior to filing an appeal. Although this is not required, it can be helpful to find out if you have a strong case and have them review your medical records to determine what additional information you need to present to the SSA to win.

If you do not want to hire a lawyer, then you need to make sure you understand how the SSA will find you disabled. They have very specific requirements and criteria for determining disability and you will need solid medical records to prove your case.

If you are denied at the reconsideration, which is very likely because up to 80% of reconsiderations are denied, you will have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. The hearing is the best chance you will have to win your case. Good luck!
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