How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Why was I denied disability in California?

The most common reason for a denial of a claim in California or any other state is the lack of proper medical documentation. All SSD and SSI cases are decided primarily on the basis of medical evidence. In most cases, as well, Social Security will review vocational evidence (pertaining to your work history) in addition to your medical treatment history.

However, in every single case, the information that will lead Social Security to approve or deny a claim will come from the claimant's records.

How are disability cases lacking when it comes to medical evidence? In many instances, the Social Security Administration will have difficulty obtaining a claimant's medical evidence simply because the claimant has not provided enough information about their medical treatment sources at the time of application.

This is in particular why we so often stress this one piece of advice: when a claimant has an appointment for a disability application interview, they should take the time to write down their medical treatment history ahead of time. This should include the names of all their doctors, or treating physicians, but also the names and addresses of all medical providers, as well as the names of all diagnosed conditions.

Writing down this information beforehand will often prevent crucial information from being accidentally omitted during the interview. And by giving full and complete information to the claims representative at the Social Security office, the disability examiner who later receives the claim (and makes a decision on it) will be in a position to get all the needed records ordered and gathered in as timely a fashion as possible.

Note: the single largest delay in receiving a decision on a disability claim in California has to do with how long it takes SSA to get the medical records gathered.

But difficulties in gathering the evidence is only part of the problem. In the final analysis, a disability claim will be denied because the claimant's case does not include evidence that proves that they are no longer able to work and earn what SSA refers to as a substantial and gainful income.

To be considered disabled under Social Security administrative law and procedure, it must be shown that they no longer, as a result of their condition, or conditions, possess the ability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity.

How is this proven? In the majority of claims, it will boil down to analyzing the claimant's work history to determine what was required of them in the past, as well as what skills they have that may allow them to do some type of other work.

If the claimant and/or their disability attorney or disability representative can build a case that "proves" that the functional limitations caused by their physical or mental condition eliminates A) their ability to go back to a past job and B) makes it impossible for them to switch to a new type of work, they may be approved for disability.

Proving a case, however, often requires an indepth knowledge of Social Security regulations (title 20 of the federal code), as well as the vocational grid rules that direct decisions of "disabled" or "not disabled" on claims, as well as some knowledge of various SSRs (social security court rulings).

It is precisely for these reasons that claimants who are typically unrepresented at the first two levels of the disability claim system (application and reconsideration appeal) and who also have scant knowledge of how cases are decided are generally denied. And it goes without saying that at the hearing level, possessing a substantial knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedure will be even more important, as the case will be presented to a federal ALJ, or administrative law judge.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.