It might be surprising to find out that the process of applying and getting approved for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits can be a long and challenging one. First, you must convince the Social Security Association (SSA) you fit their definition of disability. This means you must be disabled for at least one year or have a disability expected to result in your death that prevents you from holding any job and earning substantial gainful income. If your disability condition isn’t listed in the SSA Blue Book, you must make a strong enough argument that your disability or related health complication matches the criteria for one approved disability that’s listed. The other qualifying issue for many applicants is meeting the non-medical requirements for Social Security disability, which we’ll explain a bit later.
Most Initial SSDI Claims Get Denied; Many Are Due To A Technicality
It’s important to understand that only a small percentage of SSDI applications are approved the first time. In fact, many people must go through the appeals process to win Social Security disability benefits.
There are a variety of reasons a claim might be denied, and in many cases, it’s for medical reasons. In other words, the SSA doesn’t find your medical condition severe enough to prevent you from working more than one year. But in other cases, failing to meet non-medical requirements for SSDI may result in a Social Security disability technical denial. Claimants who apply for Social Security disability and receive a Social Security disability technical denial letter in the mail should pay attention to the commonly reported reasons below.
What Is A Technical or Non-Medical Denial?
A non-medical denial (also known as a technical denial) occurs when you don’t meet the non-medical requirements for Social Security disability set forth by the SSA. If you cannot meet the non-medical requirements for disability benefits, your medical condition is not enough to get your application reviewed by the SSA.
Below are three reasons your SSDI claim might receive a Social Security disability technical denial:
Reason #1: You Earned Too Much Income
You are allowed to work while applying for SSDI. However, if you earn more than the substantial gainful activity maximum allows, it will result in a technical/non-medical denial. That’s because you’re earning too much money to qualify for disability assistance, according to SSA guidelines. The SGA monthly limit is $1,220 for non-blind and $2,040 for blind applicants.
Reason #2: You Haven’t Earned 40 Work Credits Yet
In order to receive SSDI benefits, you must have previously had enough in Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks, which earns you work credits. A person in their early 30s needs at least 20 work credits to qualify for SSDI. Claimants in their 60s, however, needs at least 40 work credits. Another way to look at it: If you’re 50 years old, you need to have worked at a job for seven years that paid into Social Security to be eligible for SSDI.
Reason #3: You Haven’t Worked Enough Within The Last 10 Years
Another reason for a Social Security disability technical denial is because you haven’t worked recently enough to qualify. Alternatively, it’s possible you were found to be disabled after the date you last had Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks. Generally speaking, you must have worked at least five out of the last 10 years to qualify for SSDI. Part-time employees, seasonal workers, stay-at-home parents and those who do not have SS taxes withheld may receive a non-medical claim denial, regardless of their disability status.
Receiving a Social Security disability technical denial doesn’t signal the end of your options. You can go through the appeals process to try and have the SSA’s decision reversed. If you do opt to file an appeal, consider speaking with a Social Security advocate or attorney if you haven’t done so already. He or she will have the expertise and background knowledge necessary to improve your chances of winning benefits, or can help you begin the SSI disability claims process if you have insufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI.
Find the Right Disability Advocate Who Can Help You
Talking to someone who handles cases just like yours is the best way to avoid accidental paperwork errors. If you received a Social Security disability technical denial, an experienced advocate can find your mistakes and help you file your appeal. Click on the button below for a free benefits evaluation.