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Social Security Disability: Why Do So Many Americans Get Denied?


If you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability, or SSDI, you may have heard about the dismal approval rates. Around 70 percent of initial claims are denied, and the appeals process can be even less forgiving — which means that it’s more likely than not that you won’t receive benefits the first time around. But understanding why so many Americans are denied Social Security Disability can help you know what to include in your own application to make it more likely to be approved.

A lack of evidence

The main reason that a claim can be denied is if the Social Security Administration simply doesn’t see enough evidence to prove that you not only have a disability, but that it prevents you from working. You not only need records from all of the hospitals, treatment centers and physicians’ offices you have visited and been treated at, but these records should clearly relate to your particular disability and show which symptoms in particular prevent you from working.

An incomplete application

Sadly, a common reason why claims are denied is because not all the information that the claims examiners need in order to make a decision is there. Either you’re missing a page of the paperwork, forgot to include supporting documentation, didn’t fill out a necessary field on the application, or left out another crucial component — no matter what it is, the SSA will not accept any applications that are incomplete.

Lying or falsifying information

If you exaggerate the effects of your disability, embellish or make up parts of your medical history, or otherwise give false information to a claims examiner, it’s a clear reason for your claim to be denied. No matter how strongly you believe you won’t get caught, just don’t do it.

A mistaken claims examiner

Sometimes, the first claims examiner is just wrong — which is why the appeals process exists, so that you can get a second look at your claim in case the first person made a mistake. The first step of the appeals process is a second review, completely independent of the first, by a different claims examiner. This might just be what you need to get the decision you’re hoping for.

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