What is a Technical Denial in a Disability Case?

There are many reasons why applicants may be denied Social Security disability benefits. The majority of denials are for medical reasons. This could be that there wasn’t enough medical evidence or the Social Security Administration (SSA) didn’t first the medical conditions prevented being able to work. However, many applicants get a technical denial instead. This means it isn’t medical related. Actually, if you get a technical denial it means you were found ineligible for benefits for non-medical reasons. SSA has reported that nearly 50% of SSDI and 25% of SSI applicants receive technical denials. Here are some non-medical denial reasons:

Technical Denials in SSI Claims

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based disability benefits program. This means low-income based. While there isn’t past work or earning requirements, you have to be under 65. In addition, income and asset limits are strict. The common reason SSI claims are denied is that the applicant earns too much.

If you are working and have earnings above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, you will be denied. The denial will happen even before they take a look at your medical evidence. This applies to both SSI and SSDI claims.

Technical Denials in SSDI Claims

For SSDI, an applicant needs to have paid a certain amount in social security payroll deductions to qualify. This means that not only can you be denied if you make too much, but if you didn’t work long enough. Not having enough work or money paid into Social Security is the number one reason why people are denied SSDI.

Another reason an applicant might receive a technical denial is that they haven’t worked recently enough. This means you weren’t found to be disabled before the date you were last insured. SSD insurance coverage will lapse if you stop paying FICA taxes into the system. Generally, if you have worked 5 out of the past 10 years, you might be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You would need to prove your disability existed before SSDI lapsed to make for a successful appeal.


Another reason one might be denied is that the SSA cannot get ahold of the applicant. While many times technical denials cannot be appealed, there are extenuating circumstances. It’s important to have your case reviewed by professionals, like DSS, who can help you review what might have been overlooked. Don’t wait. Social Security disability benefits denials must be appealed within 60 days. For more information, contact DSS today. Also, check out our 5-step evaluation infographic to help you understand the SSA evaluation process.