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Common Errors Made By Social Security When Denying An Application

The Social Security Administration is a large government bureaucracy and, like any large bureaucracy, it makes mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes result in a qualified applicant being wrongfully denied disability benefits. If you are unable to work, but your claim for Social Security disability benefits was denied, the knowledgeable Jeffersonville, Indiana disability lawyers can help you determine if this denial is in error.

Common mistakes Your claim may be erroneously denied if the Social Security decision-maker makes any of these common mistakes:

  • Fails to consider all your impairments;
  • Fails to obtain the medical evidence that demonstrates you have a Listings impairment;
  • Fails to consider all your symptoms;
  • Underestimates the severity of your pain and its impact on your daily activities;
  • Overestimates your education level; or
  • Overestimates your ability to work.

Overestimating your ability to work Perhaps the most common mistake made by the Social Security decision-maker is overestimating a claimant's ability to work or "residual functional capacity." Your "residual functional capacity" ("RFC") is your ability to perform work-related functions (e.g., to walk, stand and sit; to lift and carry; to concentrate), despite the limitations caused by your impairment.

The Social Security Administration expresses RFC in terms of work levels. To perform at a "light" work level, for example, you must be able to lift not more than 20 pounds at a time and to frequently lift or carry up to 10 pounds. "Medium" work, by comparison, requires "lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time, with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds," as well as "frequent bending or stooping."

Your RFC is determined based on a review of the medical evidence provided by your doctors. If this evidence is incomplete or inaccurate, your claim may be erroneously denied. For example, if your medical records indicate that you cannot lift more than 50 pounds, but fail to indicate that repetitive lifting of even lightweight objects results in severe and sustained pain in your knees and back, then the Social Security decision-maker may determine - mistakenly - that you are capable of medium-level work, and your claim may be denied.

Contact the Jeffersonville, Indiana disability lawyers

If your claim for Social Security disability benefits was erroneously denied, the Jeffersonville disability lawyers can review the evidence in your case and help you present a focused, persuasive appeal. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call or email our office, or submit the claim evaluation form on this page. We will respond promptly. Keep your denial letter handy and bring it with you to our first meeting.


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