A Social Security Disability (SSD) technical denial can occur when the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your benefits claim because you fail to meet the technical requirements for eligibility.
The SSA’s technical requirements vary based on which disability program you are applying for: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
For either program, technical eligibility hinges not on your health, but on meeting certain qualifications having to do with your income, assets, work history, and current work status.
What Are the Technical Eligibility Requirements for SSDI?
SSDI operates as a government-run disability insurance program. Its funding comes from workers’ payroll taxes, which serve as “premiums” that you must pay if you have a job and receive a paycheck.
Therefore, only those who have paid a sufficient amount into the system through their payroll taxes are eligible for SSDI benefits. If the SSA looks at your work history and decides it is insufficient, you might receive a technical denial, even if your medical condition qualifies you for benefits.
SSDI is also restricted to applicants who are fully disabled, meaning they cannot sustain meaningful, gainful employment. That means no matter how severe your medical condition is, if the SSA finds evidence that you are still working and earning above its threshold for substantial gainful activity (SGA), it might deny you based on technical criteria.
As of 2017, the SGA threshold is $1,170 if you have full eyesight and $1,950 if you are legally blind. Any earned income above these amounts could be grounds for a technical denial.
This threshold only applies to earned income from work. There is no limit to how much you can collect in unearned income. You could earn millions from real estate investments or stocks, for instance, and still be eligible for SSDI—as long as your condition prevents you from maintaining substantial gainful employment.
What Are the Technical Eligibility Requirements for SSI?
Because SSI is a means-tested benefit program for the needy, it has quite different technical eligibility requirements from the SSDI program.
To avoid a technical denial of your SSI application, your countable income and assets must fall below certain thresholds. As of 2017, the SSA set these levels as follows:
- A maximum of $735 per month in countable income; and
- Total assets worth a maximum of $2,000 for individuals or $3,000 for married couples.
If you fail to meet the technical criteria for one disability program, you may qualify for the other. For instance, if your work history is too sparse for SSDI, perhaps your earnings are low enough to make you eligible for SSI benefits.
Do You Have More Questions? Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, for a Free Consultation.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, want to help you qualify for disability benefits. To set up a free consultation with a disability attorney, call us today at 866-628-8179.