One of the most difficult decisions a person can make is deciding they can no longer work because of an illness or physical impairment. The good news is you can apply for social security disability benefits to help you pay your bills and buy groceries. The bad news is most claims are denied when you first apply. Here are three things that can cause your disability claim to be denied.
1. Your income is too much.
Not everyone can afford to cut back their hours at work while they wait for their disability claim to be approved. Instead, they try their best to suffer through working their full-time job so they can pay their bills and have food on the table. The only problem with this is there is a limit on how much you can make while receiving disability benefits. Many don't realize that the income limit doesn't take effect after their claim has been approved - it is actually in place at the time of your application.
The current monthly income amount the Social Security Administration (SSA) deems to be "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) is $1,090 for those who aren't blind, and $1,820 for those who are legally blind. What that means is, in order to get and keep your disability benefits, you must have a monthly income less than those amounts. So, having an income that is equal to or exceeds the SGA amount will cause your application for benefits to be denied.
2. You don't send in enough recent medical documentation with your application.
Another thing that often leads to denial of disability benefits is you don't send in enough recent medical documentation. The SSA needs to be able to evaluate your application based on medical evidence. They can't just take your word for it that you have a disability that prevents you from working regularly. They need to have proof from medical professionals to back up your claims.
When it comes to sending in medical documentation for your disability application, there really is no such as thing as sending too much. If it is applicable to your condition, send it in. Keep in mind that you need to send in medical records from the past six months so the SSA will know your condition is recent. However, if your condition started years ago and only recently became so bad that you couldn't work, be sure to send in the older medical records as well. This will help provide the SSA with a timeline of your condition.
Also, be sure to tell your doctor(s) that you need them to provide statements for an application for disability benefits. Simply sending in x-rays and test results won't provide a complete picture of your condition for the SSA. A statement from your doctor(s) can help clarify certain questions the SSA may have while looking at your medical records.
3. You failed to follow your doctor's treatment plan, which could have improved your condition.
If the SSA sees that your doctor prescribed a course of treatment that would have improved your condition enough to work full-time and you refused to go along with it, they will likely deny your application. The SSA looks more favorably on those who have tried to improve their condition through their doctor's treatment plan(s).
Of course, there are valid reasons not to follow medical treatments, and the SSA understands that. They will consider your reasoning for not complying with medical treatment. Some of the reasons they will accept include:
- The treatment violates your religious beliefs.
- The treatment is too expensive, and there are no free or low-cost options nearby.
- The treatment is too risky (i.e. surgery) compared to possible benefits.
- The treatment involves amputation of an extremity.
- The treatment conflicts with the opinion of another doctor.
That is not an exhaustive list, but it does give you an idea of the type of excuses the SSA will accept as valid reasoning for treatment non-compliance.
However, you need to keep in mind that you will have to provide valid proof to back up your reason. The SSA won't take you at your word when you say you can't afford a particular treatment. You will likely need to provide them with bank statements, check stubs, price quotes for your share of the treatment's cost, and a statement from your doctor that there are no lower cost options available to you locally. Click here to investigate.