You know that you’re unable to work and your doctor certainly agrees — yet, your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim came back denied.

What happened?

Here’s the sobering reality: The majority of disability applications are denied. That’s been increasingly true over the last few years, with steady declines in the number of allowances since 2010. Many claims are denied for small, preventable issues.

Here are three of the most common reasons for a denied claim:

1. Your file was incomplete or disorganized.

The file that Social Security gathers on you, which includes information about your conditions, your education and your work history, needs to be complete to give the agency a clear understanding of your limitations.

Finding out if your file has some gaps that need to be filled in can often help you fix the problem.

2. You don’t have a doctor or didn’t follow orders.

There’s a general presumption that a condition that’s bad enough to be disabling is also bothersome. If you haven’t seen a doctor in a while or you don’t follow your doctor’s recommended course of treatment, Social Security may decide that’s “evidence” that you aren’t disabled.

You may have a perfectly good reason for not seeing a doctor or following a course of treatment. For example, you may no longer have insurance and can’t afford therapy or medication, which can overcome the reason for the denial.

3. You weren’t able to be reached.

Sometimes Social Security Disability examiners want to ask a claimant more questions or schedule an appointment for a consultative examination. If they were unable to reach you in a timely manner, your claim can be denied on that basis alone.

A denied application for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income doesn’t have to be the end of your claim. If getting an approval seems nearly impossible, having an attorney’s assistance may help you build a stronger case.