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What is a Technical Denial of a Pennsylvania Resident’s Social Security Disability Claim?

Pennsylvania residents applying for Federal assistance regarding their disability may find themselves facing a technical denial by the Social Security Administration (SSA). When an individual fails to meet the financial requirements of Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, then the SSA may deny their application for benefits. In the event of a technical denial, the SSA determines the applicant is not eligible for benefits due to non-medical reasons.  Often, medical evidence has not even been reviewed.

Reasons for technical denials include an applicant earning too much money. In other words, if an applicant is working and earns more than the “substantial gainful activity” limit,  they may receive a technical denial.  The limit applies to both SSDI and SSI claims.

The substantial gainful activity amount for 2017 is higher for statutorily blind individuals, and by Federal law, is lower for those non-blind individuals. As the national average wage index changes, the substantial gainful activity amounts change.

Another common reason for a technical denial is that an applicant has not worked for enough years to have financially contributed a certain amount into the Social Security system.  The system covers employees that have worked for a set period of time, which depends on their age. A 50-year-old will have had to work at a job for 7 years that pays into Social Security.

Not having worked in the recent past is another reason for a technical denial.  You must have been found disabled before the date you were last injured. Social Security Disability insurance coverage lapses after a period of time, if you have stopped paying FICA taxes into the system.  The “date last insured” is the term for the date your SSDI lapses. Generally, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits,applicants must have worked for five out of the last ten years . It may be helpful to set forth documentation that shows your disability was in place before your date last insured.  This can help you to appeal a denial.

For Supplemental Security Income, technical denials may be based on applicants having exceeded the strict income and asset limits.  As a needs-based disability benefit program, past earnings requirements do not apply. 

Appealing a technical denial can be challenging.  Pursuing an appeal will not change your work credits, which may have been the reason for ineligibility.  In certain cases, if the SSA erred in assessing assets or income, an appeal may be filed.  If the denial was based on a missing document, then an appeal may be appropriate.  

At Needle Law, our skilled Pennsylvania lawyers can help applicants seeking Social Security benefits, including those who have received a technical denial of their application.  We are skilled at presenting a claim that includes necessary medical evidence and supporting financial documentation indicating eligibility for benefits.  Contact our office by calling 570-344-1266 or complete our online form to set up your complimentary consultation. 

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