How Could They Deny Me?
You are not the only one who opened a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and found a Notice of Decision denying your application for Social Security disability benefits.
Nor, are you the only one who received a denial letter after you appealed the denial you received in your Notice of Decision.
More often than not, people who apply for Social Security disability benefits are denied after filing an initial application.
There are two types of Social Security disability benefits; Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to be eligible for either of these benefits you must be found medically eligible and non-medically eligible.
In order to be awarded benefits at the initial application, you will need medical records which clearly demonstrate you are unable to do ANY job. That does not mean you are only unable to do your past work. That means you cannot even sit in a chair, or stand six out of eight hours per day and do ANY simple, one step, routine, low stress job.
In order to be found medically eligible for SSDI or SSI, you need to “strict” proof you are severely disabled. The Social Security Administration does not have to give you benefits simply because your medical provider writes a letter and states you can not work. Your medical provider must back up any statements regarding your disability with treatment records or progress notes which show your condition is so severe that the condition has kept you from working and continues to keep you from working throughout the entire period of time you say you have been unable to work.
If you provide the SSA with medical records that state you went to the Emergency Department of a hospital for a severe toothache, pneumonia, menstrual cramps, or even chest pain, but none of these conditions have lasted or are expected to last twelve (12) months and keep you from working ANY job, the SSA is not going to be persuaded to award you benefits.
Your medical records MUST demonstrate your condition was/is so severe you could not do any work from the date you stated you became disabled. Furthermore, depending on the condition you say keeps you from working, you will have to also provide the SSA with test results and if your claim is, for example orthopedic in nature, imaging (x-ray, CAT scan, MRI) reports which further support your medical provider’s records.
Additionally, in order to be found non-medically eligible for SSDI, you must have worked and had payroll taxes (FICA) deducted from your pay check and PAID to the IRS. On occasion people who have worked and had payroll taxes deducted from pay checks find the employer failed to send the money to the IRS.
Working and paying in to the system buys you quarters or credits. In order to collect SSDI, you must have earned enough quarters or credits. If you have any doubt whether or not you earned enough credits to be eligible for SSDI, call the SSA toll free (800) 772-1213. If it has been a while since you worked you should also call the SSA to find out whether you are still insured for SSDI benefits.
If you have not worked in a while and your credits have expired, or if you have never worked, and if you are medically eligible, that is, you have medical reports as explained above which support your claim for Social Security disability benefits, you may be able to apply for SSI. However, you must qualify non-medically for SSI. In order to qualify non-medically for SSI, a single person must have less than $2,000.00 in assets (cash or equivalent, e.g., investments), and a married person less than $3,000.00. Again, contact the SSA at the toll free number above if you are not sure whether or not you meet the financial criteria for eligibility for SSI.
More often than not people do not have medical reports which contain all the statements and supporting evidence necessary for an SSA representative to award benefits at the initial level of the application process. SSA representatives who review your application for Social Security disability benefits do not have the authority to award benefits at the initial application level unless your claim exactly fits the criteria for eligibility.
While you may be unable to get out of bed without significant pain, get yourself to the toilet without an accident, sit at least two hours at a time, or walk more than a city block, you may still receive a Notice of Decision letter from the SSA which looks like no one read your medical records. If the Notice states your claim was reviewed and your medical reports were read, the rest of the Notice will appear as if written by some heartless and cruel person who singled you out for punishment. In fact, the Notice will appear so far fetched, the SSA may as well have said you could tap dance and wait tables.
Consider the following. The representative who reviewed your file does not know you from the next applicant. You are just another stack of paper or another electronic file. The representative does not care about you personally. They have nothing for, or against you. The SSA does not care if you are frustrated. In fact, if the SSA is “lucky,” you will be so frustrated you will give up your claim, and therefore that will be potentially less money the SSA has to shell out.
There are tens of thousands of people applying for Social Security disability benefits. Your application is just another in an endless pile. If you do not have strict proof, as stated above, of your severe condition(s), which precludes you from doing ANY job in the national economy, count on being denied at the initial application level. It is not personal. It is Social Security regulation. It is not a matter of fair, ethical, or moral. It is the law.
Do not give up your claim without contacting an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. The medical and legal team at Levian Legal will review your claim free of charge. We provide skilled representation and compassionate customer service. You are not just another stack of paper or electronic file to us. We will not lead you to believe we can obtain benefits for you if you do not have a strong claim.
If you give up without knowing whether or not you have a strong claim, you are the only one who loses. For a FREE case evaluation, with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer call Levian Legal (410) 433-4040, or complete the contact form at the top of this page.