You may have a vivid recollection of the time and effort it took to apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration for your disabling condition. You filled out paperwork, gathered documentation, submitted to an interview and waited. To your dismay, the SSA rejected your claim for benefits. While this can be frustrating, the letter the agency sent should have explained why they denied your request.

It is not unusual for first-time claimants to receive a denial of benefits. In fact, the SSA accepts only about one third of all initial requests. If you disagree with the reasons the SSA stated for your denial, you may have more success on appeal. Meanwhile, it is important to understand the common reasons why the SSA rejects so many claims for disability benefits.

Why are so many claims denied?

When the SSA approves requests for disability, it is because the applicants have proved that they have qualifying conditions that prevent them from working to earn a living, and that the conditions will likely last longer than a year. These are the basic points of eligibility for a disability claim, and if you do not meet them, your application may not make it much further. However, there are additional reasons why an agent may deny your request for benefits, including:

  • You earn an income that exceeds the maximum allowed to qualify for benefits.
  • Your condition will allow you to return to work in less than a year.
  • You fail to follow the instructions for applying, such as releasing your medical records or attending medical exams or interviews.
  • You do not provide the SSA with an accurate Missouri address or phone number where someone could reach you.
  • You apply for disability while you are in prison for committing a felony, or your injury occurred in the process of committing a felony that resulted in your imprisonment.
  • Your condition is the result of substance abuse.
  • You do not complete the treatment protocol your doctor prescribes.
  • You do not supply sufficient documentation of your condition or treatments.

This is especially important if you have a mental illness or other disability that is not easily noticeable. On the other hand, the SSA may make exceptions if your condition or situation prevents you from complying with medical orders. For example, a patient with a mental illness may forget to take medication, or a patient may not have the money or support to attend therapy. If you have extenuating circumstances the SSA should know about while reviewing your request, you may benefit from the help of a skilled advocate.