Before the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability examiners determine if your health impairments are severe enough to prevent you from working, they ensure you qualify based on a list of technical criteria. They deny many applications during this process, because the applicants are not eligible for benefits for one reason or another unrelated to their disability.
For help after a denial, call the attorneys at Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 today. We can help you understand if a Social Security Disability (SSD) technical denial is standing in between you and your benefits.
What Is a Technical Denial?
A technical denial occurs when the disability examiner issues a denial of benefits based on a non-medical requirement for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For this reason, technical denials are also sometimes called non-medical denials.
If this happens to you, the SSA will send a letter of denial and they will not evaluate your claim any further. Since they evaluate these technical qualifications before delving into your medical history, this means there is no medical determination in your case.
What Are the Non-Medical Reasons for a Denial of SSI Benefits?
SSI is a need-based program with strict income and asset limits. A technical denial for SSI most likely stems from an income or assets above the limit. Often, this is a mistake. The SSA may have failed to allow you to exempt your home, car, or business-related assets. We can help you understand the current limits for this program and fight for the compensation you deserve.
For example, imagine you apply for SSI benefits, but the records show you earn just above the 2017 income limit of $735 per month. If we can show you have impairment-related work expenses to deduct and this brings your income under the limit, you may qualify for benefits.
What Are the Non-Medical Reasons for a Denial of SSDI Benefits?
The three most common reasons applicants receive a technical denial for the SSDI program include:
- Not enough work credits;
- Not enough work credits from recent work; and
- Earning above the substantial gainful activity maximum.
Unlike the SSI program, drawing SSDI benefits requires you to work and pay into the Social Security system for a number of years before qualifying for disability. If you do not have the required number of work credits for your age or have not earned these credits recently enough, you may receive a technical denial. Most workers need 20 credits earned in the last decade.
While SSDI is not a need-based program, there is an income limit for applicants. Known as the substantial gainful activity limit, exceeding this monthly income amount from working a job triggers a technical denial. For 2017, this limit is $1,170 per month for non-blind applicants and $1,950 for blind applicants.
It is important to note, however, that this only considers earnings from a job you work. Income from investments, for example, does not count. In addition, if you are self-employed there are some other requirements. We may also be able to deduct certain impairment-related work expenses. We can help you evaluate your situation and determine if you qualify for benefits even after a technical denial.
What Are the Other Reasons the SSA Might Deny My Claim? Many initial applications for SSD programs receive a denial. Only a fraction of these are due to a non-medical technicality. While the technical qualifications are very important, we often spend much of our time and resources focused on ensuring your medical condition and impairments fit the SSA’s definition of disabled.
This includes having a condition that prevents you from working for at least one year or is likely to cause your death. We will also need to ensure your medical records clearly document a condition included in the Blue Book, the SSA’s impairment listings. If not, we can rely on your residual functional capacity to show you are not able to work your previous job, any other job you qualify for, or a job that requires only unskilled labor.
Medical denials are the most common reason for disability benefit denials. We have the resources and skills needed to give you the best chance of approval when you apply initially and can help you fight a medical denial if it occurs.
Can I Appeal an SSD Technical Denial?
If you receive a technical denial of disability benefits we can discuss that with you. SSA will not evaluate your medical impairment and rule on your claim until the technical problems in your case are resolved.
If you received a technical denial of your benefits, the disability lawyers at Berger and Green offer free case reviews and help you fight for the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 412-661-1400.