Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for kidney disease. I received a denial letter that said that I received a technical denial. I am not sure if I know exactly what this means. Can you explain to me what a technical denial is and whether I can appeal this denial and win SSDI benefits?”
Technical Denial and Understanding the SSDI application process
Millions of disability applicants are denied SSDI benefits each year for a variety of reasons. Although SSDI benefits are awarded to claimants who have a severe health condition and who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months, to win SSDI benefits, claimants must also meet nonmedical criteria.
For example, when a claimant applies for SSDI benefits their SSDI benefit application is initially sent to the local SSA office where it is first reviewed to determine whether the claimant meets nonmedical criteria for SSDI. Claimants who do not meet the basic requirements receive what is termed a technical denial.
When can my application be for technical reasons?
A technical denial can occur if any of the following factors exist:
- The claimant is working too much and making too much money at the time they submit their application. Currently, in 2017, claimants cannot be making more than $1950 per month (non-blind) or $1,950 (for the blind) applicants and still qualify for SSDI.
- The claimant is working too many hours, regardless of whether they are getting paid. For example, claimants who are volunteering 40 hours per week may be considered not disabled even though they do not receive a profit because the SSA assumes they could also work full-time at a paying job.
- The claimant does not have sufficient work credits to be insured for SSDI benefits. (Claimants must have worked and paid taxes to earn work credits)
Can I appeal a technical denial?
Unlike a medical denial which may be appealed and the decision overturned, a technical denial generally cannot be appealed. This is because the determination was not subjective (like reviewing medical evidence and determining the severity of a health condition) but rather objective- i.e. you do not have enough work credits.
Exceptions, however, do exist. For example, there are times when the SSA makes errors or does not have a claimant’s entire work record. If the technical denial was based on missing documentation or an error in the SSA’s calculations, then the decision can be appealed.
For example, if you review your work history and see that the SSA is missing 10 years of your employment and did not have information about the employment taxes you paid for those years, you might just need to supply W2 statements and prove employment.
If your case does meet the basic nonmedical requirements for SSDI your claim will be denied. In fact, the SSA will not even review your medical records or determine the severity of your health condition if you do not meet the basic nonmedical requirements.