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WHY DOES SSA KEEP DENYING MY CASE?

WHY ISN’T THE SSA GRANTING YOUR CASE?

At Cannon Disability Law, we hear a version of this question every day. People look at their neighbors and believe they should not be receiving disability benefits. They also believe they should get benefits and can’t understand why the SSA denied their case. 

If you are asking yourself a similar question, please remember you may not know all of the details about your neighbor’s disability. SSA grants disability benefits for mental health issues, IQ issues, depression, or impairments that may not be visible to the eye.

why hasn't ssa granted your case

USING THE MEDICAL VOCATIONAL GUIDELINES 

Your neighbor may qualify for benefits because they are disabled under the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. The GRID Rules allow for a finding of disability based upon age, education, and transferability of skills.

If your neighbor is over 50 and worked an unskilled job for most of their life and they can no longer do that job, they may qualify for benefits – even if they could do some sort of work. For a description of how the Medical-Vocational Guidelines work, go to our page about the rules for people over 50 years old.

Social Security will make a determination about what level of exertion you can perform in a work setting. This is the only way the judge can apply the Grid rules. Usually, a judge will determine your “residual functional capacity” at a hearing. The judge looks to your medical records and the opinion of your doctor to determine what kind of work you can do. The judge will put you into one of 5 categories. The five categories are from the least level of exertion to the most: sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy. If the judge decides you require an easier category of work and you are over 50 years old, then you may be found disabled.

IS YOUR NEIGHBOR ON SSI BENEFITS?  

If your neighbor has never worked a full-time job and they are receiving benefits, they are probably receiving SSI benefits. For example,  SSI benefits are $750 a month in Utah, but some states pay more than $750. The benefit is low, as it puts anyone receiving it at less than the poverty level.  SSD benefits, however, are based upon the amount of money you have earned during your lifetime. If you are a high wage earner, your SSD benefit should be significantly higher than the SSI amount.

MOST CASES ARE DENIED AT THE OUTSET OF THE CLAIM   

The SSA has set a nationwide goal (for what they call “quality assurance”) to grant approximately 40% of disability cases. This means that at every level of the appeal process, disabled individuals are denied benefits. Is it fair for judges to deny or grant a set percentage of cases?

Some argue that ALJs should be objective and not swayed by SSA’s nationwide percentage goals. Cases should be decided on merit alone, not percentages. Nevertheless, most cases are going to end up being denied during the appeal process. Then, they must go before a judge at the hearing level.

When a judge denies a case or grants a case, the Appeals Council has the right to review the judge’s decision. The Appeals Council can review a case and decide to remand the case back to the judge to make a new decision. They can do this even if the judge grants the disability case. Find out more here about Appeals Council review.

YOU CAN WIN YOUR DISABILITY CASE, EVEN IF SSA HASN’T GRANTED YOUR CASE

Even if you don’t know why the SSA hasn’t granted your case, just remember that almost everyone is denied. All the denial proves is that it is more difficult to win benefits today than it was 20 years ago. But, you can still win benefits. You will need to see your doctor regularly and collect all of your medical records. Additionally, you need to confer with your lawyer so she can help you with your case. If you have questions about your disability case, contact us now.

Cannon Disability Law want to be your legal team for you SSD case. We represent clients in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. If you have a hearing in another state, like Colorado or Arizona, we will come to represent you where you live.

The attorneys and staff at Cannon Disability Law are Social Security Disability experts. Learn more about the legal team at our law firm on our About Us page.

Take advantage of our free consultation. All of our cases are done on a contingency fee, which means you don’t owe an attorney fee unless we win your case. If we don’t win you benefits, you will never owe an attorney fee. Consider our success rate and our legal experience, then call us today. If you do, it will help you not worry about why the SSA hasn’t granted your case.

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