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Why might an application for SSD benefits be denied?

It is not unusual for residents of Philadelphia to either suffer a disability or know someone who does. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 12 percent of people in the United States -- that is, 37 million individuals -- have a disability. Many of these may seek Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to help them stay afloat financially. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a person's initial application for disability benefits to be denied. Below are some common reasons as to why this might happen.

One reason that an SSD application may be denied is that the applicant did not provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with enough evidence of the disability and of his or her work record. If an explanation of one's disability is not complete enough, the individual's application may be denied.

Moreover, there are income requirements that must be met when it comes to being awarded disability benefits. The SSA also has a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes a disability. It must meet their definition of "severe" and last for at least a year, or be fatal. The applicant's disability also must fall under the administration's list of impairments.

To be considered disabled, an individual must be unable to perform either their former job duties or any other sort of work. If the agency determines that the individual can perform a different type of work, that individual's application may be denied.

Further, the individual applying for SSD benefits must have accumulated a certain number of "working credits" for his or her application to be approved. The number of working credits earned depends on how old the applicant is, when the applicant became disabled and how long he or she was a part of the workforce, and therefore, contributing financial to the Social Security system.

Finally, it is important to remember that each application is analyzed by a real, live human being. That means that mistakes may happen. The person reviewing the application may request more information from the applicant, which could slow down the process.

Not every application is approved, and some individuals will have their application for SSD benefits initially denied. But, do not give up. It may take a while, but by seeking the right help, perhaps from an attorney, it is possible to complete an application for benefits or start the appeals process if one's application is denied.

Source: Fool.com, "8 Reasons Your Social Security Disability Claim Was Rejected," Dayana Yochim, July 25, 2015

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee