Some claimants with a severe disability such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or a back injury mistakenly believe that all they need to do to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is to complete the application, send it to the SSA, sit back, and wait for the benefits. Unfortunately, winning SSDI benefits, even for a severe disability, can be much more complicated, and you can be denied for a variety of reasons. Below we will discuss some of the most common reasons:
You make too much money or you are working too many hours.
SSDI benefits are only paid to claimants who do not have the ability to work for at least 12 continuous months. If you are working too much or making too much income when you apply for benefits and performing what the SSA considers "substantial gainful activity" (SGA), you will be automatically denied benefits, regardless of the severity of your condition. SGA work in 2015 is $1,090 per month (for nonblind workers). If you are working and earning more than this amount, you will automatically be denied benefits.
Workers also cannot be working too many hours. The number of hours the SSA considers substantial is a bit subjective, but if you can work 30 hours per week, it is likely the SSA will assume you can work a bit more. Volunteer work can also be considered gainful. The SSA will assume if you have the capacity to perform hours and hours of volunteer work you could also work for pay.
Your severe disability is short-term.
Some claimants are denied SSDI benefits for a severe disability because their condition is not expected to last for at least12 continuous months. For instance, if you have been in a severe car accident and broken both of your legs you may be unable to work now, but in some cases, the SSA will assume that you will recover within 12 months, and they will deny your SSDI claim.
You do not return the SSA calls or cooperate with the evaluation.
Some claimants with a severe disability fail to perform the necessary steps to complete the SSDI evaluation process. For example, if you do not return calls to the SSA, refuse to complete certain forms, avoid visiting a consultative examiner (when asked), or fail to provide information about your treating doctors, the SSA may simply deny your case for failure to cooperate.
Refuse to get medical care or follow doctors treatment plan.
Another reason some severe disability applicants may be denied SSDI benefits is because they refuse to get the proper medical care for their health condition. Although there are severe valid reasons for refusing treatment (i.e., fear of surgery, no money, or religious objections) most claimants will need to follow their doctors orders. If they dont, the SSA is likely to assume that they may have the ability to work if they did get proper medical care.
You do not have medical records to support your case.
One of the most common reasons some claimants with a severe disability are denied benefits is because they do not have medical records to support their claim. If you are denied but believe your disability is severe enough to win benefits, review your medical records and determine how to strengthen your case.
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