Challenges in a Social Security Disability Case

Oct 31, 2023


The Social Security Disability Insurance programs help people financially who have a permanent or temporary disability and cannot work. Understanding common challenges you may face while applying for Social Security disability benefits can be helpful. It can help you avoid issues within your control and increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits that provide financial support during a difficult time. Let’s review common challenges during a Social Security Disability case and what you can do to help avoid them.

Following Doctor’s Orders

Your medical records will be reviewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They will be reviewing your records to determine the nature of your condition, to find out if you were trying to improve your condition, and to find out if you have been following treatment recommendations from your doctor. If your doctor prescribes therapy, it is vital that you follow through with the treatment. Not following your doctor’s order can have a devastating impact on your social security disability case.

Cooperating with the SSA

You will need to cooperate with requests made by the Social Security Administration throughout the entire process of your case. The SSA may ask for additional medical records or request for you to attend a consultative examination with a doctor. When you receive these or any kinds of requests from the SSA, it is important to cooperate with them in a timely manner.

Proving Your Disability

The SSA requires that your disability is a medically determinable impairment. This means that your disability needs to be determined by an acceptable medical source, causes you pain and loss of abilities, and can be shown with objective medical evidence. Just reporting various issues and symptoms will not be enough. It is important to send all available medical evidence showing the severity and longevity of your disability, which may include examination findings, biopsy results, medical imaging reports and lab tests.

Proving Inability to Work

You will have to prove that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Engaging in substantial gainful activity is being able to do any type of work that brings in enough income to survive according to the SSA. The SGA limit is adjusted annually to reflect changes in national average wages. The amount for 2024 is $1,550 per month. Depending on your disability and occupation, proving that you cannot engage in SGA may be difficult. The SSA will look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do any kind of work. You will need to show your disability not only prevents you from earning a living doing your previous work, but also prevents you from adjusting to any other type of work.


Every case is unique and presents its own challenges. Being aware of these challenges can help you avoid common issues during the Social Security Disability application process. Unfortunately, very few first-time applications get approved for Social Security Disability benefits and the timeframe to file an appeal is limited. However, you don’t have to navigate it alone. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can guide you through the process. At Pedersen Law Office, LLC, we offer free consultations to discuss your specific situation, the potential challenges, and ways to overcome them to get you the financial help you need. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

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