The process of applying for Social Security Disability is complex and, for many applicants, discouraging. Countless initial applications are denied, leading to some just giving up, assuming that no other options exist.
However, that doesn’t mean the quest to secure much-needed financial support is over.
A complicated process
Almost two-thirds of disability applications receive denials after going through the entire process. Nearly 90 percent find a denial letter in their mailbox after “reconsideration” that involves a different claims examiner reviewing the claim. Correspondence will note the reasons for turning the application down, with the most common including the following:
- Doing work now that was done in the past
- Ability to perform less demanding work
- Ignoring doctor’s treatment recommendations that could improve an applicant’s condition
- Failing to attend a consultative doctor’s exam paid for by Social Security
- Working above the “substantial gainful activity” level following the submission of an application
- Evidence of significant drug and alcohol use
Many denial letters include technical rationales that fully explain the medical issues and the reason for denials. Mentioning “residual functional capacity” (RFC) involves the work you can do with categories that include sedentary, light, or medium.
Understanding the denial
Deciphering the denial letter’s language from the Social Security Administration presents challenges. The contents will include:
- A brief description of your medical condition
- Impairments considered
- Medical and non-medical records
- Language explaining the denial
Some denial letters that include adverse decisions provide a rationale. In those cases, applicants should request their files for their own review.
Going up against a powerful and complicated government agency is an uphill climb that may require help. Help from an attorney with knowledge and insight into the process and a track record of success in securing benefits for applicants can potentially even the odds applicants face.