Monday, September 10, 2007

Social Security Disability Denials (technical denials) rising

According to a recent report issued by the social security administration, the number of technical denials issued by SSA has jumped sharply in recent years. Actually, to use the word "sharply" is to employ an understatement. In 1999, the social security adminisration only issued a little over 100,000 technical denials, while in 2004 the agency issued over six hundred thousand technical denials.

The question, of course, is why. And to ponder that, we should probably define what a technical denial is. Technical denials happen when individuals apply for disability and are denied without a medical evaluation taking place. Why would a medical evaluation not occur? This happens in cases where a claimant is really not even eligible to file a claim.

One example would be where a person who is working and earning more than substantial gainful income attempts to file for disability. Such an individual would not be eligible for disability benefits, regardless of their medical or mental condition, and so the claim would NOT be transferred to a disability examiner and medical records would NOT be requested. Instead, the claim would be denied immediately, in the form of a technical denial.

Why would there be a dramatic rise in technical denials? Since the rules for technical denials of disability claims have not changed, the most likely answer is that a significant increase in the number of ineligible claims is taking place. Either that, or as disability attorney Charles Hall has stated, social security claims reps are unfairly using technical denials as a method of getting claims closed out faster. However, this seems unlikely. Claims reps, I'm told, do not do this because, often, it simply creates more work (as in when claimants finally do return their paperwork following a closure).

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