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When Your Social Security Application Is Denied: What Next?

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Relying on the government for help with paying your bills is not ideal. However, if you face an emergency and either have to leave your job for a long period of time or permanently, you may apply for Social Security benefits. If you are at least 62 years old, you may receive a portion of your retirement benefits until you reach 67.


However, if you are under 62 and cannot work, the application looks a little different. In many cases, you should be prepared for an initial denial. Why? The Social Security Administration or SSA is particular, and it may come down to a typo or omission. Find out how you should proceed when the SSA denies your application for help.

Review the Application

The SSA receives thousands of applications for disability a week. To get through them quicker, they adhere to strict standards. A seemingly harmless typographical error may kick your application back to you with a denial stamp. You might have missed a section or a requirement if you filled out the application on your own. Omitting information or failing to submit required supporting documentation may be cause for an automatic denial.

Get Additional Medical Reports

Medical reports are crucial to your disability application. These provide proof that you are medically unable to return to a pre-injury or illness lifestyle. These medical reports must be thorough and describe the course of treatment you underwent and the prognosis for any further recovery. The SSA may feel like your application lacks proper medical reporting to support your assertion that you are unable to earn a wage. If you face a denial for this reason, you may want to revisit your doctors and have them write supplemental reports. YOu may also need to get an independent medical exam. This is a doctor who has not treated you previously. During this exam, the doctor will examine you as well as your medical history and reach a conclusion that supports or contradicts your previous diagnoses and treatments. Getting more medical evidence to support your application may get your application through upon a subsequent submission.

Ensuring You Meet Conditions

The SSA has set out the parameters you must meet for disability payments. You must suffer from one of these impairments to qualify for disability. A social security lawyer can sift through your application and medical reports to help determine if you fit into one of the conditions listed by the SSA. Some examples include:


  • Vision or hearing loss

  • Breathing deficiencies such as cystic fibrosis

  • Cardiac conditions such as Heart failure

  • Digestive issues such as liver disease

  • Musculoskeletal injuries such as back issues

  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety


If your healthcare record demonstrates your medical condition adequately, and it fits into one of the SSA's list, you should proceed to supplement or appeal your denial.

Appealing the Decision

When your application meets the protocols set out by the SSA and was still denied, you may want to speak to your lawyer about appealing it. There are several steps to a successful appeal process, and it is possible to overcome a negative first or even second decision from the SSA. The appeal may require you to submit further evidence of not only the medical condition but also how it came about. For example, if you were involved in a workplace accident that left you physically impaired and unable to work, you may need to submit your workers' compensation file or have an employer testify about the extent of the accident and the damage. An appeal may also require an appearance before the SSA board assigned to your geographic area. Regardless, if you have a valid claim for benefits, your attorney can help you move forward with it.


Finding yourself suddenly unable to provide an income for your family is stressful. Getting a denial of benefits from the SSA does nothing to ease that tension. However, know that in most cases, a denial is not a final decision. Gather the materials you need and proceed with trying until you get the financial relief you need.

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