When Social Security denies a claim for disability benefits at the initial or reconsideration level, the SSA provides a personalized "Explanation of Determination" on the last page of the denial letter. The denial letter is otherwise a form letter.
The information or analysis in these explanations is often erroneous. As noted by Charles Hall in Social Security News, a recent GAO report found the explanations actually misleading in a significant number of claims.
I've seen hundreds of these explanations. Often, the denial letter is what sparks the search for a Social Security disability attorney, and the denial letter is the first thing I look at when I meet with a new client.
The explanations are occasionally so wrong that it would be funny, if it weren't so sad. Needless to say, these letters cause a fair amount of distress to claimants.
The lesson for claimants is don't get upset by a denial letter, even if the explanation of determination is wrong, or does not reflect the severity of your impairments. Take action instead: make sure you appeal the denial within 60 days. If you don't already have the assistance of a Social Security disability attorney, it's time to talk with one.