What are Common Reasons for an SSD Denial and how can I Challenge it?

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While the exact rate will vary from state to state, at the first level of disability claims the national denial rate is approximately 70%. The denial of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) claims, while discouraging to many, is very common at the initial application level. Since most who apply for SSD benefits will be required to file at least one appeal, understanding common reasons for denials is often an essential step in securing SSD benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) stores all applications and records in a digital database.  Upon request, the SSA will copy the records on to a CD or optical disk. While in some instances the representative will be willing the mail the CD, you may be required to pick-up the disc in-person. An experienced Social Security representative can obtain this information and other evidence that supports your claim for benefits.

If you have questions or concerns about the denial notice you received from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the state Disability Determination Services (DDS), Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak may be able to help. For more than 20 years the Ken Kieklak has assisted Arkansans with SSD claims and other difficult legal issues. To schedule a free and confidential SSD consultation, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.

Explanation of Disability Determination

Your file may contain a technical explanation for your SSD denial. This information can be found on Form SSA-4268. The form will state the reasoning the claims examiner used when he or she decided that your claim for disability benefits would be denied. This explanation is highly technical and goes beyond what is explained in your denial notice. This step-by-step technical rationale can be instructive because it can reveal where doubt crept in, areas with insufficient evidence, or where the agent misapplied the laws or agency regulations governing SSD.

Review the medical records the claims examiner had available

A mere diagnosis of a serious condition, disease or impairment alone is not enough to establish grounds for a disability award. Rather, the diagnosis must be confirmed by objective clinical or medical data and reports from close associates.

In some cases, the medical records may contain statements that can be misinterpreted by the claims examiner. For instance, the doctor may write in the medical record that the patient would be able to perform “medium work” despite being unable to lift any weight greater than approximately 15 pounds. Unfortunately the SSA definition for medium work requires an individual to lift up to 50 pounds and to carry up to 25 pounds. Based on the medical diagnosis, a job with this type of lifting requirements is surely is not what the doctor meant. An experienced SSD lawyer can help identify errors in the record and show how their presence resulted in an unwarranted denial.

In other instances, the SSA or DDS may not have been provided adequate medical information to make a determination. For instance, the medical record may lack descriptions of the intensity and frequency of the pain and discomfort caused by the impairment. In other cases, the information in the record may be insufficient to determine how it affects your daily activities and ability to work.

Mistakes about your education and past work history

If factual errors have been made regarding you level of education and past work history, the claims examiner may believe that there are jobs you can perform when you are not actually qualified for these positions. Your denial packet will likely contain Form SSA-3369-F6 which is a vocational report. The technical rationale is also likely to contain information regarding your past employment. Compare the information you submitted to the information that appears in these reports. If there are significant errors and you were denied on the basis of available alternate employment, it is possible that it could change the outcome in your case.

If it is necessary to correct information regarding your past work history or you past education, you can provide records. You can also submit statements of your work history and performance made by former supervisors, co-workers and others who would be familiar with your work.

Rely on our Social Security Disability experience

If you are considering applying for SSD or SSI or if you have already received an initial denial, the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can help.  To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.

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