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Why is my neighbor on disability benefits, but SSA keeps denying my case?

Why Hasn’t SSA Granted 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.

Are You 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.

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.

Don’t Worry – 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 and having to go before an ALJ at a hearing.

You Can Win Your Disability 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.

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