Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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The Social Security Disability Denial Letter
The Social Security denial letter includes a listing of the medical sources used to make your disability determination. Social Security also offers an explanation of why they denied your disability claim.
The letter might seem like a lot of confusing legal jargon; however these phrases offer a clue as to why your disability claim was denied: “non-severe”, “does not meet an impairment listing”, “past relevant work” and “other work.
If the letter states that you have a non-severe medical condition, Social Security does not consider your medical condition severe enough to be disabling. This means that your disability claim was denied because you do not have a severe physical impairment or mental condition.
If you do not meet or equal an impairment listing, it does not mean that Social Security considers your disabling condition to be non-severe. It simply means that your condition does not meet the severity requirements outlined in an impairment listing in the social security disability list of impairments, also known as the blue book, which bears the title “Disability Evaluation under Social Security”.
If this is the case, your denial letter will acknowledge that you have a severe disabling condition that does limit your functional capacity. If your disabling condition does not meet or equal the criteria of an impairment listing, Social Security must consider if the limitations imposed by your impairment prevent you from doing any of your past relevant work or if you are able to do any other kind of work given your age, residual functional capacity, education, and job skills.
Your denial letter will include specific language with regard to your ability to return to your past work or if you are able to perform some type of other work in the national economy. Your disability claim can be denied for the ability to perform past relevant work or other kinds of work (after your age, education, functional limitations, and the transferability of your job skills are considered) in the general economy.
While the legal language of a Social Security denial notice may be confusing, the two most important things contained in your disability denial letter are A) the date of the notice and B) the explanation as to how to appeal your disability denial.
The date in the upper right hand corner of your denial notice begins your sixty-day appeal period. Social Security actually allows you five extra days for the mailing of your notice, which effectively gives you a sixty-five day appeal period. Your appeal must be in the possession of the Social Security Administration on the sixty-fifth day after the date of your denial letter--if your appeal is not received by the sixty-fifth day, you may have to file a new disability application.
Of course, it is important to read your disability denial letter, because the letter may also reveal information that might be valuable for your appeal. You should always make sure to review the medical sources that Social Security has listed as the basis of their medical disability determination. If important medical information is missing, you may be able to improve the chances of your disability case by providing the missing medical information.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria