What Does a Disability Denial Letter from Social Security Say?

by May 17, 2018General

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If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and get denied benefits, you will receive a boilerplate form letter in the mail to notify you of your denial called a notice of disapproved claim.

The letter will not be personalized or even unusually detailed. But it will provide information regarding why your claim was denied. With the help of a Social Security disability attorney, you can use this information to gather additional evidence and strengthen your claim before you start the appeal process.

The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, help people with disabling medical conditions win the Social Security benefits they deserve, even if they have previously applied on their own and been denied. If you want to know what does a disability denial letter from Social Security say, schedule a free consultation and claim evaluation with one of our attorneys. Call our office anytime at 865-566-0800.

If the SSA denies you on non-medical grounds, you can expect to receive a reasonably brief letter but one that informs you of the specific non-medical reason that you were dismissed, such as your earned income being too high or your payroll tax contributions to Social Security being insignificant.

If you are denied on medical grounds, there are a variety of reasons you could expect to find in your notice of disapproved claim.

The Sources Used to Deny Your Claim

The letter first states what evidence the SSA used to review your claim. Since you were denied on medical grounds, this evidence often includes the medical sources you submitted, but it can also include additional sources that you did not send with your claim but that the SSA discovered during the review process.

Later in the appeals process, if you end up taking your claim in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you and your attorney can retrieve your file from the SSA and find out which sources were used and which were not. If you feel that sources beneficial to you underemphasized in the initial decision, you can make these sources central to your ALJ case.

A List of Conditions on Which the SSA Evaluated You

The next section of the letter lists the specific medical conditions for which you were evaluated by the SSA. If this list features more than one medical condition — for instance, bipolar disorder as well as fibromyalgia — it means that the person who reviewed your application considered each state separately.

Based on the SSA’s standard for total disability, the reviewer may have ultimately decided to deny your request for all conditions. In other words, the SSA concluded that none of your requirements qualify you for disability.

An Explanation of Its Decision on Your Work Capacity

The success of your Social Security disability application ultimately hinges on whether the SSA believes that you are capable of maintaining substantially gainful employment. Such as, can you keep a job that allows you to earn a living and pay your bills? If the SSA believes you can, it is likely to deny your application, as there is no such thing as partial Social Security disability: it is an all-or-nothing proposition.

To determine if you are capable of gainful employment, the SSA looks not only at your most recent job but also every position you have held over the previous 15 years. If the SSA believes you are capable of returning to any one of those positions without undue hardship, that alone could be grounds for denial.

The SSA also reviews your educational history and specialized skills, a list of which it requires you to submit when first applying. It matches this information with an internal database of potential jobs. Again, a match here might result in a denial, as the SSA will argue that a job exists that you can perform.

The third section of your denial letter presents the SSA’s findings on your work capacity and why it believes you can maintain gainful employment.

A Brief Explanation of Who Reviewed Your Application

The final section features boilerplate language to the effect that doctors and other professionals reviewed all your evidence and came to a decision. What that typically means is that an employee known as a disability examiner reviewed and adjudicated your claim, with a doctor giving it a quick glance and signing off on it.

To Schedule a Free Consultation With a Social Security Attorney, Call 865-566-0800

At the Disability Advantage Group, we want to help you win your disability claim. If you were denied benefits, our attorneys could start working on your appeal right away. Call 865-566-0800 to schedule a free consultation.