The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a majority of the claims submitted by applicants that seek social security disability benefits.
Reasons for denied claims include insufficient evidence and not enough supporting documentation.
However, if you submit a strong claim, the chances of having your disability benefits approved increases significantly.
If you have applied for SSDI or SSI through a claim made with the SSA, you may be wondering whether your claim may be approved. Claims typically take several months to be assessed, but you can improve your chances of approval by understanding the criteria for eligibility and providing all relevant information to support your claim.
Further Reading: What Is SSI?
Signs Your Disability Claim Will Be Approved
Five signs your disability application may be improved are if you meet the non-medical requirements, you have enough medical evidence, you're out of work for 12 months, you meet the Blue Book listing and that you have an attorney helping you.
There are signs that provide evidence that your claim is more likely to be approved. Some of these signs are described below.
Sign #1-You Meet the Non-Medical Requirements
If you have gained enough work credits or you are within the income limits for Social Security disability benefits, then the SSA may approve your claim.
The SSA calculates work credits based on your annual wages or the income generated by self-employment.
In 2024, you earn one work credit for every $1,730 earned in wages or self-employment income.
For example, when you reach $6,920 in earned wages in 2024, you earn four work credits for the year. The number of work credits that you need to become eligible for Social Security disability benefits depends on the age when you became disabled.
Sign #2-You Submit Convincing Medical Evidence
Whatever the nature of your disability, you will need medical evidence to support your claim for a benefit. The more relevant medical evidence you can provide, the more likely it will be that your application will be considered favorably.
Medical documentation of your disability represents the most important part of your disability claim. You must submit medical documentation that is completed by acceptable medical sources.
The medical records and reports that you should submit include the following documentation:
- Diagnostic reports
- History of medical ailments
- Treatment descriptions
- Receipts for medications
- Prognosis of the disability
Your physician should submit a form that describes your ability to carry out instructions, as well as complete physical activities while on the job.
Sign #3-Out of Work for at Least 12 Months
SSA requires disability applicants to have missed work for at least one year.
This means 12 consecutive months off the job, not six months here and six months there.
If you are able to show that you cannot work anymore or that you don’t expect to be able to work for at least the next 12 months, this is a good sign that you have a better chance of having your application approved. A residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment by your doctor can help to prove that you are unable to work because of your disability.
Your employer must submit documentation that proves you were out of work for at least 12 consecutive months. You should also submit copies of monthly bank statements.
Sign #4-You Meet the Blue Book Listing
The SSA’s Blue book is the primary method used to determine eligibility for a benefit. There are many thousands of listings which describe the possible disabilities and which symptoms are considered severe enough to justify approving a benefit. If your own medical condition and symptoms match the criteria listed in the Blue Book, then this is a good sign that your disability will be approved for a benefit.
As the official guide for listing eligible medical conditions for disability benefits, the Blue Book can be the difference between you receiving approval for Social Security disability benefits and the SSA denying your claim.
A team of medical professionals that work at the SSA review your claim to determine whether your disability is listed in the Blue Book and the symptoms associated with your disability are severe enough to warrant disability benefits.
If you cannot meet the Blue Book listing, you have the option to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
A team of physicians at the SSA evaluates your ability to complete mental and physical tasks that are associated with your job.
An RFC also can educate the SSA review team about how you might be able to adapt to working a different occupation.
Sign #5-Work with a Social Security Disability Attorney
With a majority of disability benefit applications coming back denied by the SSA, an applicant needs to work with a state-licensed Social Security lawyer who specializes in handling cases that involve getting disability benefits approved.
Your attorney will review your application to ensure you completed every section accurately.
Since the application process can take several months to unfold, your lawyer will check on the status of your application to make sure it is moving along at an acceptable pace.
If your claim comes back denied, your Social Security attorney can help you navigate the four-step appeals process.
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