Why Your Social Security Debility Claim Got Rejected -- And What To Do About It

2 June 2015
 Categories: Law, Articles


If you're feeling devastated because your application for Social Security disability payments was turned down, you're in good company. According to Nolo's Disability Secrets, some 65 percent of all requests for this form of disability compensation are rejected the first time they're submitted. Fortunately, you're permitted to appeal the decision or submit another application -- but first you need to know what went wrong, lest history repeat itself. Here are some of the common reasons for rejection.

You Failed to Provide Everything

Completeness is an absolute must when filling out any document intended for government scrutiny, whether it's a tax return or a Social Security disability application. Applying might seem deceptively easy now that it's possible to fill out the necessary paperwork online, but beware of making any omissions that might cause your case to be thrown out. It's usually smarter to go to the local Social Security office to submit your application to a real human being who can answer any questions that come up during the process. If you have no choice but to fill out the application yourself, you may want to have a Social Security disability lawyer review your work before you turn it in.

You Misunderstood the Documents

Applying for Social Security disability benefits involves filling out several different documents -- making it disturbingly easy to fill out and submit the wrong ones for your particular situation. For one thing, you may have submitted an application for SSDI (Social Security disability Income) even though you're only qualified to receive SSI (Social Security Income), a program for those who haven't been able to make sufficient sufficient Social Security payments to qualify for SSDI. Or perhaps you qualified for both, but you only submitted one application. This is another great reason to talk to a Social Security disability lawyer before you submit the paperwork.

If that confusion weren't enough, the Social Security Administration has some pretty precise and detailed listings of impairments, both in Part A (for adults 18 and over) and Part B (for applicants under 18). If you don't take tremendous care to read these definitions and ask questions about anything you don't understand, you could easily misrepresent your disability. When your supporting evidence doesn't match the disability you claimed, you get rejected.

You're Not Likely to Remain Disabled for a Year or More

Social Security disability benefits are meant to provide long-term support to someone who is unable to work for at least the next 12 months. If you're disabled because of a heart attack or major surgery, you might well be back on the job much sooner than that, making you unqualified to receive benefits. (If you feel you should be receiving benefits from your employer because of a job-related short-term injury, you're probably better off talking to workers compensation lawyers.) The only way to establish that you're unable to work for the sufficient period of time is by submitting medical reports, testimonials from attending and consulting physicians, and other expert evidence. 

You're Still Able to Make a Living

Perhaps you applied for Social Security disability benefits because you can no longer do your job. Fair enough, but does that mean you can't do any job? If the Administration reviews your condition and decides that you could continue to work on a reduced schedule, or even in a different role altogether, then your application may be rejected on those grounds. "Disability" in the eyes of the Administration generally means total disability, with no means of earning a wage.

If you believe that a simple misunderstanding is behind your rejection, then it's time to try again. You can either submit a fresh application, or you can have your Social Security disability lawyer file an appeal. Which route you choose may depend on your circumstances. For instance, if you know you made a simple error on your first application, it might make more sense to re-apply than to wait a year or more for an appeal ruling. If your case is more complex than that, however, it may be well worth the wait to appeal, since well-argued appeals actually have higher odds for success. Ask your legal representation what you should do -- and then go to sites and take action to get the benefits you need and deserve!