To determine if your disability is severe enough to prevent you from receiving a substantial income, the Social Security Administration will look at your medical records and ask questions about your day-to-day life.

But before they do this, they will use a set of non-medical criteria as a litmus test to determine possible eligibility. This can result in what is called a technical denial.

Technical denial when applying for disability benefits

A technical denial means that, regardless of your medical condition or its severity, the SSA has deemed you ineligible for benefits because of your work history or financial situation.

These reasons often have to do with things like current income, the value of your assets, and the amount of work you have done in the past. Depending on your individual situation, you may be denied for either SSI or SSDI, or you may be denied for both.

Technical criteria for SSDI

Because SSDI requires a solid work history and payment of Social Security taxes, it is common to be denied because your work history is too short. Another common reason for denial is that your work history is not recent enough.

The system used for SSDI involves “work credits.” You earn a work credit for every $1,360 that you make, up to a maximum of four credits per year. To be eligible for Social Security disability most workers will need two of our end at least 20 or credits in the last decade.

While SSDI does not set strict income or asset limits the way that SSI does, it is still possible to be denied because your earnings are too high. Social Security disability benefits are intended for people who are unable to earn a substantial income, not necessarily everyone with a serious medical diagnosis.

Technical criteria for SSI

SSI is a need-based program, and because of this, most technical denials for SSI are due to a person making too much money, or simply having too much money. Unlike SSDI, you can lose SSI eligibility simply because the value of your assets is too high. Currently the maximum value of assets a person receiving SSI can have is $2,000.

If you are unsure about your eligibility for SSI and SSDI, we’re here to help you make sense of things. Contact our offices by phone, email, or text message, and we will connect you to an experienced disability advocate. Get started today by scheduling a free consultation.