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What is a Social Security Disability Technical Denial (And How Can I Appeal It)?

If you are unable to work on a full-time basis, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, the unfortunate reality is that many people struggle to get their SSD claim approved. Broadly speaking, Social Security disability denials fall into two categories: 

  • Medical denials; and
  • Technical denials. 

A technical denial is also sometimes referred to simply as a “non-medical denial.” It is a denial for any reason not directly related to your medical records. You still have the right to file an appeal for a technical SSD denial. Here, our Phoenix Social Security disability lawyer explains the most important things that you should know about technical denials. 

Technical Denied: Defined

Broadly defined, a technical denial is a Social Security disability denial for non-medical reasons. In other words, the denial has nothing to do with the medical records presented by the applicant. Instead, the SSA is stating that the applicant does not qualify for benefits based on a non-medical reason, usually because of income, financial resource, work history, or a procedural factor. Some notable examples for reasons for technical denials include: 

  • Income and Resources: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have distinct criteria. SSDI is for individuals who have paid into the Social Security system through their employment, whereas SSI is a needs-based program. If your income or resources exceed the limit set for SSI, you may face technical denial.
  • Work Credits: For SSDI, you need a certain number of work credits, based on your age and work history. If you have not accumulated enough credits, you could be technically denied. Proving your work history is a key part of any SSDI claim. Though work credits are not an issue for SSI disability claims. 
  • Lack of Documentation: Inadequate or incomplete documentation can also result in technical denial. It is vital that all required forms and supporting documents are submitted. An attorney can help you put together the supporting documentation you need to apply. 

A Significant Number of Social Security Disability Claims are Denied on Technical Grounds

In Social Security disability claims, technical denials are far from rare. Indeed, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published comprehensive data regarding the outcomes of SSDI and SSI claims. For reference, nearly 40 percent of initial Social Security disability claims filed in 2020 were denied on technical grounds. To put that number into the proper perspective, that means that technical denials are nearly twice as common as medical denials. Many people who apply for SSDI or SSI benefits in Arizona will have to navigate a technical denial. 

How to Appeal a Technical Denial: (Steps to Take)

The technical denial of your Social Security disability benefits can be deeply frustrating—but it is not always the end of the process. You have the right to appeal your technical denial. It is crucial that you are prepared to put together a strong and comprehensive appeal. Here are some key steps that you should be ready to take if you are appealing a technical SSD denial in Arizona: 

  • Carefully Review the Denial Letter: Carefully read the denial letter to understand the exact reason for the technical denial. This will be crucial in building your appeal case.
  • Gather All of the Necessary Supporting Documents: Collect all the documents that will support your case. This may include financial records, employment history, or any other documentation that addresses the reason for the technical denial.
  • Consult an Arizona SSD Attorney: You do not have to take on the claims process alone. Consider consulting an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability claims. Your lawyer can provide valuable guidance and help you present the strongest possible case.
  • Submit an Appeal (Request for Reconsideration): You must file your appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial notice. You can do this online at the Social Security Administration’s website or by visiting a local Social Security office.

Contact Our Phoenix, AZ SSDI Lawyer for Legal Guidance and Support

At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, our Arizona Social Security disability lawyers go the extra mile to provide top quality, personalized legal support to clients. If you have any questions about technical denials, we are here as your professional resource. Get in touch with our law firm at (877) 370-5788 or connect with us directly online for a free review of your case. Our law firm provides SSDI representation to people and families in Phoenix, Maricopa County, and all across Arizona.

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