The Difference Between a Medical Denial and a Technical Denial

By Disability Group

It is no surprise that many people who apply for disability benefits are denied the first and even second time around. However, what does surprise several claimants is that there is more than one type of denial letter they can receive from Social Security Administration. Many claimants receive a medical denial, but it is common to receive a technical denial as well. Here is an explanation of each one:

Medical Denial

A medical denial is sent by Social Security to the claimant, stating that SSA has not found the claimant’s conditions disabling enough to keep the claimant from going back to any type of job that exists in the national economy (not just their old job). SSA will spend 4-6 months analyzing the claimant’s medical records and past work history before making a decision about whether they are disabled by SSA’s standards. The medical denial will commonly state specifically why the claimant is not considered disabled and list the records that were used to make this decision. If a medical denial is received, it should be appealed right away.

Technical Denial

A technical denial, on the other hand, has nothing to do with a claimant’s medical conditions and impairments. A technical denial means that a claimant has not met the basic non-medical requirements to qualify for disability benefits. There are two types of technical denials:

  • Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) technical denial. If you have not worked enough in the past to be eligible for DIB (generally you must have worked at least 5 out of the past 10 years) and earned enough work credits, then you are technically ineligible for DIB and SSA will send you a letter stating this after you have applied.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) technical denial. SSI is a welfare-based disability program. To qualify, you must have a limited income and resources. If your income exceeds $637 per month for an individual or $1,011 for a couple, and if your resources are greater than $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple, you will not be eligible for SSI. Social Security will inform you if you are not technically eligible to receive SSI.