Disability Denied? 3 Common Reasons Why and What to Do Next

Living with an injury or disability can be extremely stressful, especially if you are unable to continue working due to your condition. Applying for disability benefits is not always a guarantee that your application will be accepted, even if you truly cannot work.

Unfortunately, this is an extremely common situation – out of the millions of individuals who submit applications to the Social Security Administration (SSA), only 30% are approved through the claims process.

Was your disability denied? Here are three of the most common reasons social security applications are denied, and what you should do for the next steps.

Inadequate Medical Evidence

This is possibly the most prevalent reason that SSDI and SSI claims are denied. A lack of medical evidence is essential in proving you’re unable to perform work duties due to your disability or illness. You are required to provide medical records and other documentation, including the following:

  • Current and historical medical records
  • Documentation of impairment severity
  • Evidence of claimant responsibilities
  • Consultative examinations and reporting
  • Documented evidence relating to symptoms
  • Records of time lost at work due to disability
  • Doctor’s notes related to missed work or modified schedule

Ultimately, documentation is crucial – make sure your primary care provider is making note of each step of the way. In some cases, you may be sent to a doctor assigned by the SSA, but even that isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee proof of your disability, so cover your tracks by detailing everything. This will help culminate your case for Social Security

Previous Denials

Filing a new application is likely to be denied for the same reasons as the first, or even simply because the person reviewing your claim sees that you have been denied in the past. Taking advantage of the 60-day window of time to file an appeal request will be substantially more beneficial to you than waiting or missing the deadline. If your initial claim is denied, know that this is a very common situation and try to appeal as soon as possible.
disability denied

Not Meeting Non-Medical Requirements

Eligibility requirements are imperative when applying for disability benefits. Because it is a welfare program, there are strict regulations that apply to your assets or income that can prevent you from acquiring Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be denied if you have not worked long enough. These are called “technical denials” and vary based on whether you need SSI or SSDI.

Another common non-medical requirement is ensuring you comply with all appointments, exams, income reporting, and so forth – otherwise, you will most likely be denied. The best practice is to stay as organized as possible, trying not to forget or miss any minute details that could end up being substantial to your application.

What to Do if Your Disability Claim is Denied

Learn Why

Understanding why your claim was denied is the first step in working toward appealing or resubmitting and can help increase your chances of success the next time. Try to gain as much information about your denied application as possible.


If your claim is denied, you have a 60-day window to request an appeal, which you can do yourself or with the help of a disability attorney. It’s best to submit this request as soon as possible to ensure it is on record.

Contact a Disability Lawyer

Disability denied? The best thing you can do is seek guidance from a professional disability lawyer like Woodruff & Mathis who can advise you on taking the next steps. If you need a disability attorney or simply want to learn more about Maine disability requirements, please contact us today.