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The reasons Social Security disability benefits get denied

You have joined the club. As a first-time applicant for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, you received a rejection notice. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your application. Later, you learn that the SSA usually denies two-thirds of first-time applications for the much-needed benefits.

You understand that upon appealing the SSA’s decision, you likely will secure SSD benefits. However, you remain frustrated and want to know why the government denied you the benefits. You have a serious medical condition or impairment, and you are no longer able to work. So why is the government making it more difficult for you and your family?

Workers can perform other jobs

According to a government report, close to 513,000 workers were denied SSD benefits in 2017. The reasons for denial varied, however, here are the top four:

  • The worker had the ability to perform other types of jobs. (40.6%)
  • The worker’s medical ailment was not severe enough to warrant benefits. (23.8%)
  • The worker had the ability to carry out the duties of his or her previous job. (9.9%)
  • The ailment was not expected to last at least a year. (5%)

The remaining 21% of the denials were due to an assortment of reasons, including drug addiction or alcoholism caused the worker’s impairment; the worker failed to provide sufficient medical evidence; the worker failed to cooperate; the worker did not abide by prescribed treatment; the worker discontinued the claim; and the worker returned to employment before the disability could be determined.

Understand that the government works slowly and has its reasons to deny workers their SSD benefits. It just makes the process move even slower. Still, you deserve those benefits as you worked for decades and dutifully paid into the Social Security system. Forced to wait a little longer, you likely will receive those disability benefits.