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Technical Denials in Disability Cases

July 16, 2021 Disability

No one wants to have their Social Security Disability application denied. You have spent weeks or even months meticulously gathering all the information you need, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” — not to mention that you could really use the money. It can feel like a crushing defeat when the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies an application for benefits that you feel you deserve. Technical denials — those that involve the applicant not meeting non-medical criteria for benefits — are the most common type of denial, as our Baltimore Social Security lawyer explains. 

What Is a Technical Denial? 

The SSA has several eligibility criteria, including both employment-related criteria and medically related criteria. A technical denial is a denial that is issued when the applicant fails to meet one of the employment-related eligibility criteria. According to 2018 data, 40.7% percent of disability applications are denied for technical reasons, while 23.2% are denied for medical reasons.

Why Would You Get a Technical Denial? 

When the SSA issues a technical denial, it is not necessarily saying you are not disabled; rather, it is saying that you failed to meet one of the non-medical criteria. There are several reasons why this could happen, such as:

  • You didn’t work long enough: You must have worked for a certain amount of time and built up a certain number of “work credits” to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The number of work credits you need to meet the “duration of work test” depends upon how old you are and when you become disabled. 
  • You didn’t work recently enough: In addition to needing to have worked for a certain length of time, you also need to have worked within a certain period of time before you apply for benefits. The number of work credits necessary to meet the “recent work test” varies by age. If you become disabled before the age of 24, you need six credits in the three-year period ending when your disability starts. If you are between 24 and 31, you need to have worked half the time between age 21 and the age at which you became disabled. If you are over 31, you must have at least 20 credits in the 10-year period before you became disabled. 
  • You make too much money: Social Security Disability benefits are available only to those individuals who are unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity. If you earn more than that amount, you may receive a technical denial. 
  • The SSA cannot contact you: If the SSA has questions about your application or needs more information but cannot reach you despite multiple attempts, it will issue a technical rejection. 

Are Technical Denials Appealable? 

Generally, no. However, you may be able to appeal your Social Security Disability denial you allege that the SSA made an error, such as by incorrectly calculating the number of work credits you have or overvaluing your income and assets.  

Contact a Baltimore Social Security Lawyer for More Information 

Technical appeals can often be difficult to overcome, but you can increase your chances of success through competent legal representation. To get started, please contact Baltimore Social Security lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.