When people apply for disability benefits, the last thing they want to receive is a denial. Individuals who file are often in desperate situations and need income to help them get back on their feet while they battle a chronic or even permanent illness. 

In spite of this, the New York City Bar estimates that when people apply for disability benefits, more than half of those claims end in denial. Some of these denials are due to technical errors and are easily resolved, but others may require more effort to successfully appeal. 

Top reasons for denial 

The NYC Bar identifies some of the main reasons so many claims get denied on the first try: 

  • Failing to follow the instructions given by the SSA 
  • Failing to prove that the disability will last 12 years or more 
  • Not providing a timely response to the SSA 
  • Providing no documentation to support the claim 
  • Ignoring doctors’ orders 
  • Suffering from a disability related to substance abuse 

Effects of a recession 

Sadly, the Social Security Administration reports that denials are often higher during a recession. A backlog of claims might also add extra time to the waiting process and the appeals process. Even so, the SSA also reports that by 2012, 35% of the people who were denied benefits in 2008 were now receiving them. It appears that the older the applicants were, the more likely they were to later receive benefits. 

This offers a ray of hope for people who may be worried that there is no end in sight. However, for many people, waiting for four years is simply not an option.