What is Technical Denial In a Disability Benefits Application?

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When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet a wide range of requirements defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is only when you fulfill these requirements that your claim gets accepted. Technical denial is only one way your claim could be possibly blocked.

The toughest of these are the medical requirements. SSA basically requires that your medical condition must be severe enough to pose real limitations on your earning capacity. A large number of SSA applicants fail to meet this requirement. This is why medical reasons are one of the leading causes of disability claim denials.

However, many SSA applicants also fail in their claims over non-medical reasons. This is typically the case when SSA issues a ‘technical denial’ in a disability claim. Here’s a look at what is a technical denial and when is SSA likely to deny a claim in this way.

What is a Technical Denial?

According to the statistics shared by SSA, a huge number of SSDI and SSI applicants meet failure due to a technical denial. This type of denial is the main reason for the failure of nearly 50% SSDI applications and 25% SSI applications.

As noted above, a technical denial comes about due to non-medical reasons. It is primarily issued when the procedural or non-medical requirements for Social Security disability benefits are not met. Here are some common reasons that lead to a technical denial.

Not Enough Work Credits

One of the key requirements to be eligible for SSDI benefits is that you must have worked a specific number of years. The actual number of years depends on your age, the time of the onset of disability, and a number of other factors. On average, you will need 40 work credits to qualify, 20 of which must have been earned during the last 10 years. You can get a more detailed view of SSA’s work credit requirements here.

When you fall short of the requisite work credits, SSA turns down your SSDI claim. This is a technical denial as no medical reasons are involved in the denial.

Not Recent Enough Work Credits

As noted above, some of your work credits must be recent enough for your SSDI claim to be successful. This has to do with the expiry date on your SSD insurance coverage. If your disability began after your SSD insurance expired, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.

This is why SSA requires that you must have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years in order to qualify for SSDI benefits. If it has been more than five years since you last worked, it is very likely that your SSD coverage has expired by the time you are filing the claim. If your disability also began after the Date Last Insured (DLI), then SSA is very likely to turn down your claim over technical grounds.

Earning Above the Threshold Limit

When you apply for disability benefits, you basically claim that you can’t earn a meaningful amount of money to be financially stable. SSA wants you to prove this by showing that you don’t earn above a designated ‘substantial gainful activity’ limit. Also known as an SGA limit, this is the monthly amount of money you earn despite your disability.

If you earn above this limit, SSA will deem that you can make a meaningful amount of money on a monthly basis and so don’t deserve the benefits. This will result in a technical denial. The SGA limit for 2020 is $1,260 for non-blind applicants and $2,110 for blind applicants.

Not Reachable by SSA

Some applicants actually provide incomplete contact information on their application. As a result, when SSA tries to reach them, the agency is unable to make contact. If SSA fails to reach despite multiple attempts, it is simply going to reject your claim. This is also deemed a technical denial as your claim is rejected before it can be judged over medical grounds.

Hiring a Social Security Attorney in Greenville, SC

If your disability benefits application has met a technical denial, it may be possible to appeal the denial. When the denial is due to your failure to meet a requirement, such as work credits requirement, an appeal is usually pointless. This is simply because the status of the application can’t change until you meet the said requirement. However, when the denial is for another technical issue, such as incomplete documentation, appealing makes a lot of sense.

Here at Robert Surface, we work with disability benefits applicants through every stage of the application. Whether you are yet to file an application, have received a denial, or wish to appeal the decision, we are here to help you. Contact us today to discuss your case in detail and let’s see if we can assist you.