If your Social Security Disability claim was denied, you are far from alone. Social Security statistics show that the majority of applicants are initially denied. In fact, there is a 70% denial rate at the initial evaluation phase. So, for most people, being denied is just part of the process but a difficult reality to accept. Fortunately, there are several levels of appeals built into the Social Security application process. Hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer can help you appeal an adverse decision and correct any misinformation in your record.
Here are some of the common factors that cause an applicant to be denied:
1. Incomplete Applications
One of the most common reasons for a denial is that the application is not complete. There may be missing employment information, medical information, or information about how a person’s condition affects their daily life.
2. Not Enough Time of Disability
To be suitable for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have the following conditions:
- Has lasted for at least 12 months
- Is expected to last for at least 12 months
Sometimes, applicants may request for disability benefits immediately after suffering an injury. However, if you submit an application for benefits too soon, it may not be clear to the evaluator whether your condition fits one of the categories listed above.
3. Lack of Medical Evidence
Sometimes, an applicant may not have enough current medical evidence to establish their disability to the Social Security Administration’s satisfaction. Applicants may not have kept up with these records or may not have received consistent treatment due to not being able to afford to pay for it.
4. Currently Working
Another potential factor that may lead to denial is if you are working. While it is true that you may be able to still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits as long as you make under the substantial gainful limit amount, you can expect the evaluator to scrutinize your case more closely if you are currently working. The evaluator may think that if you can work part-time hours, that you can just as easily work full-time hours. This is why Social Security Disability lawyers may recommend not working while your application is pending and only attempting to work after benefits have been awarded so that you can attempt a return-to-work program to see if you are capable of this without jeopardizing your benefits. If an applicant returns to work for six months or longer, this is typically deemed a “successful” attempt and he or she will likely not be eligible for benefits.
5. No Legal Representation
The Social Security Disability application process is complex and involves several technical medical and legal issues. It is difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. Some applicants try to handle their claim on their own, only to realize that they do need assistance from a lawyer, but by this point, it may be too late in the process for the lawyer to undo the harm, so a new application may need to be submitted.
Additionally, some applicants may be concerned that they do not have enough money to pay an attorney to represent them. However, Social Security Disability attorneys get paid out of any back benefits you receive once you are awarded benefits, so you do not have to pay them upfront or worry about paying them with money you do not have. They only get paid if they help win your claim. Lawyers serve many important functions during the disability application and appeals process, including:
- Reviewing your application for completion
- Gathering medical evidence to establish your claim
- Preparing medical histories or reports to the SSA that best highlights your condition and eligibility for benefits
- Completing appeals within the statutory deadline
- Preparing you for the hearing
- Cross-examining witnesses at your hearing