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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are monthly payments designated for eligible employees who are unable to work. You may reasonably assume that if you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will undoubtedly receive Social Security Disability benefits. This assumption is logical because 1) the Social Security Association (SSA) is a government organization created by President Franklin Roosevelt to provide financial security and, 2) all United States citizens pay Social Security taxes so funding should not be an issue.

While these reasons are valid, unfortunately, the SSA will try to deny your claim at every opportunity to save themselves money. Because the SSA is looking for a fault with your claim, you must be careful when going through the SSDI benefits process to not make mistakes. To help you avoid mistakes, here are five common reasons the SSA will deny a Social Security Disability benefits claim.

Medical Evidence is Not Presented

To receive Social Security Disability benefits, you need to have documented medical evidence related to your disability that proves that you cannot function in the workplace. If you have a physical disability, you must provide one or more of these reports: surgical records, physical therapy records, and MRI records. If you have a psychological disability, you must provide a report from a psychiatrist or psychologist. You cannot claim a disability without proper medical documentation to show the Social Security Administration. 

You Missed the Consultative Exam

The SSA requires every single person eligible for SSDI benefits to be seen by an impartial doctor who has no previous history with the claimant. The bad news is that this doctor is paid by the Social Security Administration, which leads to a natural question of bias. While it is essential to be aware of the potential bias, you cannot miss the consultative exam. If you miss the exam, the SSA will have immediate grounds to deny your claim, disregarding any evidence that you have documented from your doctor or specialist. 

The Medical or Vocational Expert Threw a Wrench in Your Case

It is not unusual for the Social Security Administration to call a medical or vocational expert to speak at the disability hearing. Like the consultative doctor, the expert is hired by the SSA, and while the testimony and opinions should be unbiased, you should exude caution with your trust. The judge uses the expert testimony to provide clarity on how the disability affects the ability to work by asking questions or posing hypothetical questions based on the claimant's particular situation. After the judge is finished questioning the expert, you or your attorney will have an opportunity to cross-examine the expert asking your questions and hypotheticals. Often, when a claimant does not have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney, they do not know the right questions to ask the expert that proves the severity of their injury.

You've Run Out of Time

While it can vary, the majority of claimants have five years after they stop working to receive SSDI benefits. Because of this reason, you must document the alleged onset date of your disability. The date chosen depends on how you suffered your injury. If the injury was caused by an automobile accident or severe work incident, then your onset date will be the date that the incident occurred. In the more likely scenario, if the injury is the result of aging or repeated stress to the mind or body from a prolonged time of doing the damaging task, the onset date will most likely be the day you stopped working.

You Only Have Your Doctor's Opinion

Due to similar reasons of you distrusting doctors and experts hired by the Social Security Administration, the SSA may be doubting of your doctor's opinions believing that there may be bias. Because of this, you may need a second, or maybe even a third doctor's opinion to confirm that the injury prevents you from working. If only your doctor claims you are disabled, the SSA may deny the claim. If you have an attorney, he or she will know exactly which questions need to be answered by which type of doctors to prove your injury in an acceptable way to the SSA.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.