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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
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Call 508-283-5500
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The Top Ten Reasons for Massachusetts SSA Disability Denials

Each year, millions of disabled people apply for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits, yet only 30% are approved on their first try. Perhaps you are one of the 70% who were rejected and are wondering what your next step should be. As Massachusetts disability attorneys, we understand the frustration you feel and strongly suggest that you try again.

When you are denied, the SSA will send you a letter with reasons that your claim was rejected. Usually this happens for one or more of the following ten reasons. Knowing these reasons allows you to “play it smart” and avoid or reverse a denial.

  1. You don’t have enough medical evidence. The SSA requires that you prove you are unable to work due to your condition. Be sure your doctor has documented not only the results of your visits, but also evidence that your condition has prevented you from working.
  2. You have a previous denial. If you have already been denied on your first application, it is not a good idea to file a new one. Your case evaluator will see that you were denied once and may automatically reject the second one. It is much smarter to appeal.
  3. Your disability won’t last the required time. In order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI, the SSA requires that your disability will last at least 12 months, or result in your death. If your medical records don’t show this to be true, you will be denied. 
  4. You fail to cooperate with the SSA disability office. This can happen in two ways. First, you simply mess up and miss medical appointments or put off providing the documents requested. Second, if you refuse to release your medical records, or if you refuse to be examined by an SSA doctor, a denial will probably follow.
  5. You are earning too much money. If your current income exceeds the Substantial Gainful Activity Allowance (SGA) required by the SSA, you will be denied. For all but the blind, this means you cannot be making more than $1000 per month at a job. Investments do not count.
  6. You fail to follow treatment your doctor prescribes. If you are being treated for your condition, but do not, for example, take prescribed medicines or show up for physical therapy, you may be denied. The SSA allows some exceptions. For example, you may be mentally unable to comply or you cannot afford to pay for the therapy.
  7. The SSA can’t find you. While it seems obvious, if the SSA and others cannot reach you to communicate, denial is not far off. If you move, contact them; if you have a representative, be sure that person handles all communications.
  8. Your disability is based on drug addiction or alcoholism. The SSA will not grant benefits to anyone who would not be disabled if he or she were not using drugs or alcohol. 
  9. You have been found guilty of a crime. If you are in prison due to a felony conviction, you became impaired while committing a felony, or you became disabled while in prison, a denial is most likely. However, once you are released from prison that can change.
  10. You have been found guilty of fraud. If the SSA discovers that you have fraudulently obtained benefits, you can be prosecuted and lose your benefits. 


The disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law handle SSA disability denial cases successfully every day. If you have questions and need help with an SSA disability denial in Massachusetts, call us toll free today at 888-904-6847.



John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law