It isn’t unusual for a Social Security Disability Insurance benefits claim to be denied during the initial application process. The claim is usually rejected because of two reasons: medical or technical. A medical denial is the outcome when it is determined that the claimant’s medical conditions weren’t severe enough to prevent them from working. A technical denial in an SSD benefits claims case occurs when the claimant either has not worked long enough under Social Security and in turn does not have enough credits, they have worked and their work credits have expired, or they do not meet the financial requirements to qualify for benefits.
Regardless of your medical condition, your application could be turned down for failing to meet just one of the technical eligibility requirements for collecting benefits.
Technical Denial Based on Income and/or Resources
One of the technical eligibility requirements for anyone making an SSI disabilities claim is that the applicant must have only limited income and limited resources.
A technical denial could result if your earnings are above the “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA, limit established by the Social Security Administration. Under the current rules, your monthly income must not exceed $1,170 a month to qualify for benefits.
The SSI considers income to be money you earn from work; and money you receive from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs, friends or relatives and food or shelter that you get for free or less than its fair market value.
Having too much property can work against you, too. You must have limited resources as well as limited income. Resources are the assets you own such as: cash; bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles and anything else you own which could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.
For an individual or child, the SSI limits for resources is $2000. For a married couple, it’s $3000. Exemptions are made for the value of a single home and a single car.
Technical Denial Because You Haven’t Worked Long Enough or Recently Enough to Qualify
Another reason you may receive a technical denial is because you haven’t worked long enough or recently enough to qualify for benefits. In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough to earn a sufficient amount of work credits through paying Social Security taxes. How many years you need to work to earn enough work credits depends on your age.
Credits are accumulated by working in a job in which Social Security taxes are deducted from your paychecks. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you need to have earned at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled. Earning $1300 per quarter earns you 1 credit. Once you stop working, the clock starts ticking.
The number of credits you have determines how much time you have to file for disability before your credits run out.
Your SSD insurance coverage will lapse after a certain period of time if you stop earning wages and paying FICA taxes. The date your insurance lapses is referred to as the Date Last Insured (DLI). Generally you need to have worked 5 out of the last 10 years to qualify for benefits.
Appealing a Technical Denial
It is often difficult to successfully appeal a technical denial, especially if your claim has been turned down due to a lack of work credits.
The only way a technical denial appeal would be successful is to either prove you were disabled before your DLI expired or to prove that you do not have the resources the Social Security Administration claims that you do.
Get the SSD Benefits You Deserve
Social Security disability benefits are intended for people who are unable to work due to a disabling condition. Unfortunately, about 60% of those who apply for benefits have their claims initially denied.
The Houston disability denial attorneys at the Law Offices of Marc Stanley Whitehead have extensive experience guiding our clients through the complicated application and appeals process.
Applying for SS disability benefits in Houston can be a real challenge if you aren’t familiar with the rules. If you are having a difficult time in filing the initial claim, we can help. If your application is denied, we are here to represent you during the appeals process – where having the right legal representation can mean the difference between acceptance and denial.
If you are preparing to file a claim for SSD or SSI benefits for the first time or have been denied and need to file an appeal, contact the Law Offices of Marc Stanley Whitehead to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Houston Social Security disability denial attorneys.