Imagine this scenario – you’ve been paying FICA taxes for as long as you can remember. Then you get into a situation where you are unable to continue working. You remember receiving a statement in the mail from Social Security that said if you became disabled right now this is the monthly amount you would receive. Because you can’t work, you apply for disability benefits. You figure since you’ve been paying into the system your whole life you should be entitled to receive these monthly benefits. You receive a response from the Social Security Administration and it’s a denial. But why? It’s your money. How could SSA deny you access to your safety net that you have been contributing to with your own money?
If this scenario sounds familiar, to you you’re not alone. Most people applying for Social Security Disability benefits think because they have paid into the system they are therefore entitled to the benefits. The fact of the matter is you are required by federal law to pay taxes to Social Security. And only if you meet the technical and medical requirements of the social security disability program will you receive these benefits.
There are many reasons your disability claim may be denied. The most common reason your case is denied is that your disability is not expected to last 12 months. The Social Security Disability program is not mean to be used as an immediate assistance program. If you need financial help now you should consider applying for other benefits like unemployment or even food stamps. The very definition of Social Security Disability requires an individual to be out of work for 12 months or expected to be out of work for 12 months. If you only stopped working 2 weeks ago it may be difficult to prove you will be out of work for the next 50 weeks.
Another reason your claim may be denied is that you are earning too much income. Maybe you reduced your hours down to part-time because of your conditions. If you are earning over SGA (substantial gainful activity) then you will be technically denied from the program.
Lastly, you may be denied because you don’t have medical evidence supporting your conditions. This can be a catch 22 situation. You don’t have medical insurance because you are unable to work due to your conditions. Without medical records to support your condition, SSA will more than likely deny your claim. So what are you to do? Sometimes SSA will send you to one of their own doctors. Otherwise, you should apply for the Affordable Care Act or seek a free clinic in your area.
The requirements for Social Security Disability benefits can be confusing and convoluted. I recommend seeking the advice of an experienced SSD attorney. They will be able to assess your situation and explain whether or not you should apply for the program.