Why Disability Applications Get Denied

October 7th, 2010

Over 70% of initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are denied. The sad truth is that most of these denied applications are legitimate claims that will eventually be approved by an administrative law judge. If many of the claims that are denied at the initial application level eventually get approved in a hearing, then why were they denied in the first place?

One reason that so many claims get denied could have something to do with the fact that the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Disability Determination Services (DDS) are understaffed. The work load for a DDS examiner is very high and it often feels like the goal of the examiner is to find a reason not to award you disability benefits.
Another reason that so many claims get denied is often due to poor or mediocre medical records. When the DDS examiner is evaluating your claim, he/she relies heavily on the medical records provided by your treating physicians. If your medical records do not convince the examiner about your inability to work and he/she feels that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity, then your claim will be denied.

If you are asked by the DDS to go to a Consultative Exam (CE) and you fail to do so, then your application might be denied for failure to cooperate.

Many people who apply for disability are not working and have limited or no income. Because of this, a disabled person might stop going to the doctor and will sometimes even stop taking their medication because they can’t afford it. This looks very bad in the eyes of the DDS examiner. If you have not been going to the doctor recently, or if you have stopped taking your medication, the DDS examiner might mistakenly think that you must be getting better and will deny your disability claim.

Regardless of why your disability claim gets denied, you must follow through with the appeals process until you are able to schedule a hearing with an administrative law judge. If you are represented by a disability attorney at your hearing, your chances of winning your claim could be as high as 80% or more. Don’t give up if your are denied. Click here to schedule a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney in the San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside area, serving all of Southern California.

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