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One thing we’ve covered many times at this point is that when you apply for SSI, or SSDI & Veterans service connected disability benefits – you are very likely to be denied the first time. You can certainly optimize your chances of success by working with a disability lawyer or advocate up front. But even when you seemingly do everything correct, things go sideways sometimes.

Here are 9 of the most common reasons you might find your SSI Denied 

(in no particular order)


SSI Denied Because…Your Income Is Too High for SSI

Sometimes applicants don’t necessarily know or understand the application requirements for SSI. If you’re earning more than the benefit you would receive from SSI, generally you aren’t eligible. Most years the income threshold changes, but a great place to keep up to date on the earned income caps is, here.

In addition to earned income limits, there are personal and family asset caps. To qualify, you must have less than $2000 in personal assets, or $3000 if you have a significant other.

You Missed Paperwork Deadlines

Throughout your claim the Social Security Administration is going to be asking you for various pieces of documentation. It’s imperative that you return forms, files, records, and anything else they ask for in a timely manner. Failing to return a critical piece of information quickly could (often does) result in a decision being made prematurely.

Think about this from the adjudicators perspective. They have to try to understand your situation on paper, and they’re under a time crunch to make decisions in doing this. If they’ve asked for information, and don’t get it, they don’t have the ability, or even necessarily discretion to delay making a decision.

Your Medical Records Show Conflicting Information

How do you feel today? You’re going to be asked that everywhere you go. Perhaps one of the hardest things for us to do is to be honest in answering that question. Now imagine you’re Dr. is writing down your answer – and later on someone is evaluating your claims based off what they wrote down.

A simple note stating: “Ms Smith reports feeling in good health and has no apparent pain…” is going to create confusion in your claim for SSI, especially if the crux of your disability is in regards to what that doctors appointment was about.

On that same note, one of your medical records could very easily conflict with another one for reasons as simple as two or more doctors seeing or understanding your condition(s) in different ways. Most claimants don’t even know this is an issue until they see a denial. It can be avoided, and it can definitely be overcome on appeal.

You Aren’t Following the Doctor’s Orders

The crux of your claim is that your condition as it is today is a barrier to you being able to engage in substantially gainful activity (work). This means that if there is a medical treatment that would/could/will get you to the point where you can work, and you are not following your doctors prescriptions (or directions) for care, you are the barrier to your own improved condition. The SSA needs to see your condition, under treatment, to make a determination on your ability to work. If you’re refusing treatment, you’re rising having your SSI denied.

Your Case Lacks Evidence

Do you have treatment records? Do you have other records or statements to support your claim? Is the only medical opinion going to be the exam the Social Security Administration makes you go to prior to making a determination? The problem with presenting only the one piece of evidence that the SSA collects is that if the evidence presents your claim in an unfavorable way, the adjudicator will have no counter opinion to assess. Presented with one side (or even no sides) of the story, their SSI determinations will be limited to their understanding.

You Are Already Better

It’s going to take a couple months to get the SSI worked out, even if your claim is successful. Is your disabling condition permanent or will it be mended by the time your claim is decided? A broken arm is likely to be more temporary than a broken back or neck, for instance.

In addition to this, the severity of the impairment is often assessed. Consider, at what point does a behavioral health challenge turn into a complete barrier to social interaction? For each person the answer to this is different. If there’s one thing that a system like SSI has a hard time with, it’s individual assessment of an ambiguous impairment.

You Disappeared…

This is taking the failure to respond to another level. Have you gone to ground; complete radio silence? One of the biggest challenges for lawyers and advocates helping people to get an SSI claim processed is losing contact with claimants. If the SSA can’t get ahold of you, they can’t get information from you. They certainly can’t let you know when appointments will be. If you move, change mailing addresses, or even if you haven’t heard from the SSA in a long time – it’s worth checking in to make sure everything is still moving along.

SSI Denied Due to Incarceration

Have you been in jail or prison recently? You cannot receive SSI benefits while incarcerated, but you can often apply for them under pre-release programs.

You Never Showed Up

Skipping doctor appointments and skipping hearings are big no-no’s for this process. Your claim will almost assuredly be denied if you fail to show up for appointments scheduled for you. This can be a very frustrating situation for many claimants simply due to inconvenient, or sometimes unknown appointment times and dates. Do your best to stay on top of appointments when they’re made and to be flexible or make yourself flexible enough to make appointments even if you learn about them at the last minute.

If any of these apply to your SSI claim, don’t miss our comprehensive guide…

How to Win An SSI Appeal (Step by Step)

SSI Denied Me, Why?

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Randi L. Johnson, Lilac City Law, Estate Planning, Social Security Disability, VA Disability

By Randi L. Johnson

How Do I Appoint a Guardian for My Child If I Die?


Honestly, no one wants to think about this question. It’s a tacit reminder that we are indeed mortal and, in some cases, we may leave this world before we are ready.  What are our plans if this were to happen?  Putting your assets in a trust, or last desires into a Will – helps to make sure your financial holdings are passed on to whomever you want them to go.  However, if you don’t create a care plan, or declare a guardian for your children the courts may decide who cares for your children if you die.

Are you comfortable with a stranger making this decision?


A Stranger Might Raise Your Children

“My greatest fear, someone I don’t know raising my child… What if something happens to me, who is going to take care of my child?”

This sentiment is a visceral fear that most parents have at some point.  And for a good reason; when we raise our children, we are trying to put the best of ourselves into them.  That means our world view, and our lessons learned, even our religion or philosophy for life.  In short, we are trying to instill our values and love.  But not everyone has those same values, do they?

Before we get into how to go about setting up a Guardianship Plan, this is something to consider…Who should you appoint as a guardian for your children in the event of untimely death?


Who Should Raise Your Children if You Die?

Establishing the Guardianship Plan (Kids Protection Plan) is the last step in the process of protecting your kiddos.  Before you even get that far, you should first be thinking very seriously about who can provide a lifestyle for your family that you’d be ok with raising your family. 

Often this is a sibling, parent, or maybe even an adult child.  However, it’s not uncommon to consider someone who isn’t directly related. Your internal family dynamics aren’t on trial; it’s a very personal consideration and decision you are making in the best interest of your family. Don’t unduly narrow the scope of consideration; this is a choice you are preparing for everyone’s best interest.

Here are some basic requirements and some other things to think about:


Your children’s guardian must be:

  • At least 18 (in most cases)
  • Able to fulfill their duties as a guardian
  • Able to financially provide for your children


Your children’s guardian should be:

  • Of similar outlook to you and your partner
  • Knowledgeable of your goals as a family and parent(s)
  • Capable of providing emotional support for your children
  • Stable (family wise, financially, etc.)
  • Someone that you’re comfortable having around your children.
  • Aware that they are being asked to be appointed as a guardian



How to Appoint a Guardian For Your Children

If you know who you want to take care of your children, the process for establishing a guardian involves declaring your desires in such a way that it will stand up to scrutiny by a judge if necessary. That’s a wordy way to say that just because you have a wish for a guardian, it doesn’t mean your preferences cannot, or will not, get challenged.  This potential hurdle is why so much consideration should go into your decision of who to appoint as a guardian.

A verbal agreement, for instance, is quickly challenged and will not instruct a judge what your wishes are. They may consider it, but without proof, your children will be relying on a judge’s discretion.  In this case, a judge well-meaning meaning but does not know you and will only know you through what information you leave behind if any. Frankly, there are too many unknowns here for me or most moms to feel comfortable knowing things will, “turn out ok!”

Better than a verbal agreement, a quickly drafted written agreement provides at least some potential protection.  In this sense, an informal written agreement certainly is better than a verbal agreement, but it can still be easily challenged.  When looking for how to prepare documents to stand up to future challenges, we always advise putting them together in such a way that it answers all the questions a judge would have about your wishes. That’s why when we prepare guardianship plans, we put all these wishes, desires, values, and more into a well prepared, and notarized, Last Will and Testament.

Placing your guardianship plan in your Last Will means a couple of things.  First, because you probably had an attorney’s input on the structuring of the guardianship plan, it will be structured to be clear enough to avoid being challenged.  Second, it automatically becomes part of the probate process, for which your family will likely have an attorney helping them through.  If the plan is part of your Will, the attorney will be working to make sure your wishes are carried out according to what you have drafted.


Alternatives to Placing Your Guardianship Plan in a Will or Estate Plan?

It is possible to create a Guardianship Plan and not have it be part of your Will. Here’s a free and easy way for you to do it right now.<- This will get you set up with the basics of a Kids Protection (and Guardianship) Plan. You’ll still want to consider having an attorney involved in this process, even if you can use that link to start laying out your desires without one.  The benefits, as described before, are that with an attorney’s assistance you’ll be creating a plan that will stand up to the scrutiny the law requires a judge to pay to your desires and the well-being of your children.


What Happens to My Family If I Die?

Strictly speaking, death isn’t the only way a Guardianship Plan might become necessary.  A Guardianship Plan might be essential if you (and your partner) become incapacitated in some manner too. This potentiality in and of itself describes why you might want to make this more of a protection plan than something you place in your Will and forget.  If you haven’t died, but need to appoint a guardian, you likely still want the plan to support your desires!

Back to the point, what happens if you die?  The processes are determined by the state you live within, but generally speaking, a guardian will be required to establish the ability to provide for your children. This procedure occurs in a court setting. Here’s a great list of requirements and resources for more information, by state.  Of course, if you have questions about this, you can always respond in the comments below too, or send us a question/messagehere.


Have you Been Through this Process as a Child or as a Guardian?

We’d love to put together a list of tips or lessons learned from the perspective of a child having gone through this, or from the perspective of a guardian having adopted the children of deceased parents.  Please feel free to reach out to us so we can help parents better understand how this process works.  You can contact us hereor connect with us on Facebook.


I’m Ready to Protect My Family if I Die, What Do I Need to Do?

Reach out to us via the contact form below, or simply call our office. Our team will reach out to you and send you all the information you need.  We are here to help you protect your family.  It’s our mission and our passion to support you and your family. 


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Everyone needs to take care of their estate and make sure their family is well taken care of. Randi and her team will take very good care of you and protect you and your family’s future. You cannot go wrong using their services. Client service is their top priority!
Kim Benjamin
Kim Benjamin
21:52 02 Nov 19
Randi is a terrific lawyer and a terrific person. I wish we lived closer so that we could work with clients together more often.
Meghan Freed
Meghan Freed
17:31 02 Nov 19
What a great place! Thanks again!
S Binks
S Binks
22:39 01 Oct 19
Wow, these guys were so nice and easy to work with. It ended up that they couldn’t help us with what we needed, but the gentleman we worked with went above and beyond my expectations, and more. I could tell that they really care about people there, not just cases. He was super patient in explaining things to me when I didn’t understand, it wasn’t a stressful experience as I thought it would be. Thanks for everything guys!
Melanie S
Melanie S
06:09 21 Aug 19
Lilac City Law is an incredible firm! I had the pleasure of working with the amazing team at Lilac City Law for nearly 2 years. Their team is absolutely remarkable! They are extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and overall compassionate when it comes to working with their clients. I sought their assistance nearly 2 years ago and have continued to work with them. I had a great deal of interaction with more than just one member of the Lilac City Law team and therefore can attest to the fact that this group of individuals is absolutely unparalleled. Attorney, Randi Johnson, is an exceptionally skilled lawyer as well as an overall remarkable woman! Her support staff is incredible as well, including Cassandra, Pam, Marissa, David, etc. with all of them by your side you have been blessed and are going to receive the best results possible. I would absolutely recommend seeking assistance from this law firm, as they have the ability to change lives; they definitely did mine. Thank you all so, so much!
Torrey Tolmie
Torrey Tolmie
17:03 22 May 19
I had a great experience with Randi and her team this past year when we worked with them to create our first-ever wills and trust. Planning for your untimely death and discussing personal finances aren't always fun topics, but we were appreciative of Randi's approach to these potentially uncomfortable conversations and especially liked the recorded legacy interview she conducted with us. Total 5-star experience!
Tine Reese
Tine Reese
20:39 30 Jan 19
My husband and I worked with Randi and her team to complete our last will and testament, advanced directive, and health care proxy in the summer of 2018. Randi, and her team, as well as David Morris, were exceptionally kind, very professional, and thorough. We had several meetings to go through the important stuff - the financial info, heirlooms, and disposition of my husband's motorcycle. At each meeting, Randi and her team listened to our intentions and concerns. At the signing ceremony, we got a huge binder with our info and a data stick for safekeeping. Included in our will is a review which will take place every other year. We also got a document which states who can take our children to give our babysitter in case something bad happens to us when we were out. I'm very satisfied with Lilac City Law, and their work. I would recommend them without qualification to anyone.
Anna Marie Martin
Anna Marie Martin
23:52 29 Jan 19
Parents are so intentional about so many aspects of their children's lives. Few will forgo putting together a will. But, what if you don't die? What if you are just incapacitated? Are you prepared for the unexpected? Are you leaving your children at risk? If someone else does raise them, do you know that they will be raised according to your wishes? Have you even thought through what your wishes are? All these questions and more will be covered in the process of completing a Family Protection Plan with Randi Johnson at Lilac City Law. Having our Family Protection Plan in place gives me an incredible sense of comfort and peace of mind. I highly recommend Randi and the staff at Lilac City Law. Hopefully you never need her services, but isn't it better to be prepared than to leave things to chance?
Marchauna Rodgers
Marchauna Rodgers
03:16 22 Jan 19
Lilac City Law did an amazing job with my estate plan, which was something I had 'thought' about doing for a long time, but avoided... Fortunately, Randi and her team made the process very easy and approachable. I now feel relief knowing everything is in order for my two daughters in the (hopefully unlikely!) event something were to happen to me. Thank you Lilac City Law for helping me sleep better at night! 🙂
Amber McKenzie
Amber McKenzie
03:30 09 Jan 19
This has been an awesome experience from beginning to end. Randi and her team were super helpful in helping us wrestle through all the aspects of our estate plan. Randi’s knowledge of estate and wills were very obvious from the beginning and we are thankful for her and her staffs expertise. Thank you so much!
Kevin Bunce
Kevin Bunce
17:22 12 Dec 18
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