The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to workers who have continually contributed to the Social Security system. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits low-income workers who have been disabled. It’s easy to consider why you think you are eligible for these benefits, but it can also be beneficial to consider the following reasons why you may not be eligible. If you need legal advice concerning your disability income, consult a Greensboro disability benefits lawyer from Lewis & Keller, proudly serving North Carolina for over two decades.
1. The Duration or Severity of Your Disability is Not Great Enough
The SSA evaluates each case individually in order to determine whether your specific impairment qualifies you for SSDI or SSI benefits. In general, the SSA requires that your injury or disability causes you severe limitations or impairments in order to qualify. They also stipulate that your injury is severe enough to affect you for at least a year or to eventually result in death. SSI applicants who are blind are the only exception to this duration requirement.
2. You Have Not Followed the Therapy Guidelines
If you are applying for disability income but are not following the mandated therapy prescribed by your doctor, the SSA has the right to deny you benefits. There are certain nonmedical and medical exceptions to this rule that may still allow you to receive benefits.
The SSA recognizes four main non-medical excuses for failing to comply with your prescribed therapy. You may be entitled to receive Social Security benefits if you do not follow your prescribed treatment for any of the following reasons.
- The treatment prescribed by your doctor is unlikely to restore your ability enough to return to work.
- Your doctor’s prescribed treatment conflicts with another doctor’s recommendations.
- You do not have enough money to pay for your therapy or treatment.
- The prescribed therapy goes against your religious beliefs.
3. Your Income is Too High
In order to receive SSDI benefits, your monthly income cannot exceed the limit for substantial gainful activity (SGA). This amount varies year to year, with the 2016 amount being $1,130 for non-blind applicants. The SGA limit only applies to income that your receive from work; it does not apply to money made from investments. Essentially, if your work income exceeds the SGA limit, you make too much money for the SSA to consider you disabled.
In order to receive SSI benefits, your income cannot exceed the SGA limit when you apply. The limit for any earned or unearned income is $1,500 per month, but anytime your income is greater than approximately $740-$800 per month, the amount you receive in SSI is reduced according to a certain formula. The amount that you make in order to qualify for SSI benefits only applies when you are applying for or collecting your SSI, meaning that you can increase your income after you are approved.
4. You Were Convicted of a Crime
Depending on the situations surrounding your crime and conviction, you may not be able to receive SSDI benefits. The SSA may deny you SSDI benefits if any of the following situations apply to you. You may, however, still be eligible for SSI benefits, but you cannot receive these benefits while you are actually incarcerated.
- If you sustained your injury while committing a crime and were subsequently convicted of the felony, you cannot use your injury as a basis for applying for SSDI.
- If you sustained your injury while in prison, you cannot use this as a basis for applying for SSDI benefits, although you may be eligible to apply after your release.
- Finally, you may be denied SSDI benefits if you are imprisoned after being convicted of a felony. An exception is if you are in a rehabilitation program approved by the court that is likely to get you a job after your release from prison.
5. Your Disability is Drug or Alcohol Related
If an addiction to drugs or alcohol contributed to your disability, the SSA is not likely to grant you benefits. The only exception is if the SSA still rules you disabled after you discontinue your use of drugs or alcohol.
Contact a Greensboro Disability Benefits Lawyer
Determining whether someone is eligible to receive SSDI or SSI benefits is an extremely complex process. In order to ensure you are receiving the proper benefits, contact a local Greensboro disability benefits lawyer at Lewis & Keller today.