What is a Technical Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits?

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A technical denial, sometimes called a “non-medical denial,” means that an applicant was denied Social Security disability benefits for a non-medical reason. Social Security has reported that almost half of SSD applicants and a quarter of SSI applicants receive technical denials.

The SSA, which will not evaluate your claim for benefits any further, will send you a letter informing you if you have been technically denied.

Aside from earning above the substantial gainful activity maximum (which is $1,260 or $2,110 for blind individuals in 2020), there are a few different reasons as to why your SSD application may receive a technical denial. They include the following:

1) You Do Not Have Sufficient Work Credits

To receive SSD benefits, you must work and pay into the Social Security System for a minimum number of years prior to qualifying. In most cases, you are required to earn 20 works credits within the last decade to qualify. However, it is important to note that determining work credits can be complicated and it is recommended to consult with an experienced disability attorney.

2) You Have Not Worked Recently Enough

In addition to work credits, the SSA requires that you have obtained these credits through work performed in five years of the last decade prior to becoming disabled.

3) You Could Not Be Reached

If Social Security cannot reach you after you have filed an application for disability, eventually, your claim will be denied.

What Are the Rules for Supplemental Security Income?

SSI is available to individuals, who at no fault of their own, may not have a sufficient number of work credits or work history.  These benefits are available to children and adults who are disabled or blind or those who are 65-years-old and older who have limited financial resources.

Supplemental Security Income benefits do not require work credits in order to qualify. However, SSI applicants may receive technical denials if their income or asset levels exceed the maximum amount.

In order to apply, individuals must not have more than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 for couples. In addition, an individual’s income cannot exceed the Supplemental Security Income maximum (which is listed as $783 for 2020).

Appealing a Technical Denial

If the SSA has made a mistake in evaluating your income or assets, or is missing a document, you can file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial. You should contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you file an appeal. A skilled attorney will know what to look for when reviewing your case, and will walk you through every step in the process.

Disability Attorneys of Michigan Can Help

Disability Attorneys of Michigan work hard every day helping the disabled of Michigan seek the Social Security Disability Benefits they need. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental, or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-701-5524.

Let Michigan’s experienced Social Security Disability law firm help you get the benefits you deserve


I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.