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Why would your disability claim be denied?

You apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, knowing you can't work and feeling like you should definitely get approved. Instead, your application is rejected.

You're stunned. Why would this happen? Below are a few reasons, which are worth considering while you decide if you want to appeal the decision.

  • You're only disabled because you abuse alcohol or drugs. You may still be eligible if you used them in the past and still have a current disability as a result, but you'll likely be denied if it appears you would stop being disabled if you just stopped using the substances.
  • Your disability is projected to be fairly short. It needs to be terminal or at least last for 12 months to qualify.
  • You earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. The benefits are for those who earn very little or nothing on their own.
  • It's hard to get in touch with you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will try, but they'll eventually deny you if they can't. Make sure you give them accurate contact information.
  • You don't have any medical records. You'll need medical information to back up your claims that you are disabled.
  • The doctors gave you a treatment plan and you ignored it. You have to at least try to follow the doctor's orders. You won't be denied just because they didn't cure you, but you could be if you made no effort.

For what it's worth, there are some exceptions to that last stipulation, such as if a doctor made a mistake or the treatment was not affordable.

If you do get denied, you may be able to appeal. Make sure you understand all of the legal options that you have.

Source: FindLaw, "Why a Disability Claim Gets Denied," accessed Jan. 18, 2018

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