What if you make too much when You Apply for Disability Benefits? (Technical Denials)

Initially, Social Security must make a determination regarding non-medical disability criteria. For instance, if an individual is still working over the SGA amount (a monthly monetary amount that Social Security deems to be substantial and which indicates that a person is able to work), the disability claim will be a technical denial. This is a type of a decision that does not involve evaluating a person's medical records--technical denials are usually issued very quickly.

Technical denials may be given when a person is working and earning too much when they apply for disability, or when they lack insured status for Social Security Disability (have not paid enough into the system to qualify), or have too much income or assets to qualify for SSI disability, which is a need-based disability program.

Essentially, technical denials will never be sent by the social security administration to the state disability processing agency (in most states, this agency is called disability determination services) for a medical determination because, in those instances, a person has not met the necessary non-medical requirements and further disability criteria that allows them to file a disability claim with the social security administration.

However, if the disability claim meets the non-medical criteria (meaning they are eligible to file for either Social Security Disability or SSI), then the disability claim is sent to the state agency responsible for Social Security Disability decisions and a medical determination will be made.

The state agency uses disability examiners, vocational experts, and physicians to make medical decisions in accordance with Social Security Disability and SSI criteria. The disability-processing agency must follow strict guidelines set forth by congress to determine if an individual is disabled according to Social Security rules and regulations.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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