SSD Denial Lawyers in Richmond, VA


What If My Social Security Disability Claim is Denied?


You likely received a Social Security denial letter if you’re reading this article. Frustration. Despair. Anger. These are some of the emotions you may be feeling.


Fortunately your Social Security disability application is not done. Though the denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) will cause you stress, don’t give up. You can still pursue your Social Security disability benefits and get approved.


It is important that you contact an experienced Social Security Disability (SSD) denial attorney as soon as you receive the Social Security denial letter. You have 60 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal with the SSA. This may seem like a long time, but it’s not.


Building a strong case for your SSD appeal is complicated. As your Richmond disability attorney, we will need to document and develop your medical history, work history, earnings, and Social Security work credits.


As your SSD denial attorney, we will guide you through the appeals process. We understand the stress you’re under. And we will provide compassionate, but aggressive legal representation to help you pursue the SSDI benefits and SSI you deserve.


First Step: Determine Why Your Social Security Disability Claim was Denied


Legal writing is often bad writing. And Social Security Administration (SSA) correspondence is no different. Trying to figure out why the SSA denied your application for Social Security Disability benefits is usually difficult to figure out. It can be nearly impossible to find the answer to one of the most common questions I get, “Why was my Social Security Disability claim denied?”


But this is the first thing you should do when you receive the Social Security denial letter.


There are two types of denials – Social Security technical denials and medical denials.

Social Security Technical Denials


The Social Security Disability application process is lengthy and complicated. If you receive a denial letter soon after filing your initial application, then you’ve probably received a technical denial.


Technical denials are issued by your local Social Security office before the claim even gets to Disability Determination Services (DDS). You’ll receive a technical denial if you do not meet the basic eligibility requirements for the disability program you’ve applied for.


Not Enough Work Credits for SSDI


The most common reason for a technical denial of your claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) is that you do not have enough work credits. In other words you did not pay enough in FICA taxes to remain insured under the Social Security Act.


Too Many Assets or Resources for SSI


The most common reason for a technical denial of your claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is that you have too much income or assets.


If you’re working and your wages are more than the current limit for substantial gainful activity (SGA) then you’ll receive a technical denial.


You’re Making Too Much Money


Another common reason to be denied benefits is that you are still working and earning above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level.


If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while working, your claim will likely be denied if you are making more than $1,170.00 per month. The limit increases each year. For example, it increased $40 from 2016 to 2017.



Should I Appeal a Technical Denial from Social Security?


Usually a technical denial should not be appealed. The better route is to file a new application for disability benefits if you have a change in circumstances, such as reducing your hours or stopping work altogether. You may want to contact an estate attorney for help structuring a special needs trust that can help you meet the basic requirements for SSI.


Social Security Disability Medical Denials


If the local Social Security office determines that you meet the basic eligibility requirements for disability then your claim will be forwarded to the nearest DDS office. DDS will order your medical records and if necessary request a consultative examination.


The DDS examiner will review your medical treatment and determine whether you meet the definition of disabled under the Social Security Act. Many times the examiner will find that you do not. Do not let this stop you! Many claimants whose application is rejected by DDS are able to obtain benefits with the help of a SSD denial attorney at hearing.


Common reasons for medical denials of Social Security disability claims include:


You Refuse to Cooperate with the SSA


You Fail to Follow Prescribed Medical Treatment


  • Your mental illness is so severe that it affects your memory, attention, and concentration, which causes you to forget to take your medication or attend therapy. Many claimants with mental health disorders require a case manager to help them keep track of appointments and medication.


  • You have a below normal intelligence. This is usually measured by an IQ score. If your IQ is 70 or below, you may have difficulty self-administering medication or making and attending appointments.


  • You have a cataract in one eye that needs surgery, but you do not want to move forward with the surgery because your other eye has a severe visual impairment that is incurable.


  • The only way to treat your severe medical impairment is through surgery, but you do not want to undergo another operation because your previous operation was unsuccessful and caused more problems.


  • An operation may resolve your severe medical impairment, but your doctor has told you there is only a 50 percent chance that it will work.


  • You cannot afford to pay for medical treatment, including prescription medication. If you don’t have enough money to pay for drugs or other treatment, make sure your attorney and the SSA know this. A word of warning – if you tell the SSA that you do not have the money for consistent medical care, but your records or other testimony show that you went on vacation, you will have a difficult time winning your claim.


  • Following prescribed treatment is against your religion. Make sure that the SSA knows your religious identification and provide documentation that shows following medical advice would violate your religion.


  • You have a justified reason to think that your doctors prescribing the wrong treatment, but you cannot afford to seek treatment elsewhere. The SSA may reach this conclusion by asking its medical experts to opine on the reasonableness of prescribed treatment.


What if the SSA finds that certain medical treatment would resolve your severe medical impairments, but you don’t have a treating physician? The SSA should not deny your claim because you lack a treating physician, so long as you can show that you’ve tried to get free care but can’t. Most big cities have free or reduced cost health care options. But if you don’t have transportation, or live in a rural area, these programs may not be much help.


You Have a Short Term Disability



You Moved or Lost Your Home and Didn’t Tell Anyone


What to Do With a Medical Denial from Social Security Disability


You can – and often should – appeal the decision if you’re denied for medical reasons. Contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney who will review your file and explain your best course of action. If you should fight the decision then your lawyer can help you navigate the Social Security appeals process to get a favorable decision at hearing.


If you have received a denial letter from Social Security you must act fast. In Virginia you must file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the date of your denial. If your request for reconsideration is denied – and it probably will be – you have 60 days to file a Request for Hearing. Failing to meet the deadline will have negative consequences and can cost you thousands of dollars in benefits.


Hope After Your Social Security Disability Denial – How Our Attorney Helps


Contact Richmond, VA SSD denial lawyer Corey Pollard at 804-251-1620 or by e-mail to schedule a free consultation. We can help you appeal a Social Security Disability denial and develop the medical and non-medical evidence in your claim. There is no fee unless you get approved for benefits.