Denied for SSI in California

I came across this question recently: "I was denied for SSI. Should I have applied for Social Security Disability instead?"

Though it may seem strange that questions of this type come up so frequently, it's nonetheless understandable and a fair amount of blame can probably be placed at the feet of Social Security field office personnel for not properly explaining to claimants what they're actually filing for (in addition to what their appeal rights are).


1. Why do people get denied for disability?
2. If You Get Denied For Disability Should You appeal Or file A new Claim?
3. What if my Disability Application is denied?
4. Social Security Disability and SSI cases are primarily denied for this reason

Put simply: when you file for disability benefits in simply file for disability benefits. The category / funding source / program from which your benefits may ultimately be drawn (social security or SSI) will depend on what you've paid into the system. And your eligibility for SSD (Social Security Disability) or SSI will be determined by the social security office. In other words, just tell them that you wish to file for disability and they'll take the appropriate application on you.

Now, there are instances in which a field office claims rep will fail to take the correct disability application. This sometimes happens when a claims rep should have taken a concurrent claim (a claim for both SSD and SSI) but, for one reason or another, failed to do so. However, this is easy enough to remedy.

What should you do if you've been denied for SSI? If you believe your condition prevents you from working, you should probably continue to pursue your claim and you should probably file an appeal versus starting over with a new application. If you've been denied for SSI benefits on your first appeal (currently known as a reconsideration and soon to be known as a review), and the next appeal step is for you to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, you should also consider finding someone to assist you with your claim since, statistically, your chances of winning benefits will increase with representation (though, it can be said that, for some claims, representation may not be needed; however, why take any chances).

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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