SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
What Percentage Of Social Security Disability or SSI Cases Does A Judge Deny?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If your initial disability claim is denied and you still consider yourself to be unable to work at a substantial gainful work activity level because of your disabling condition, you may have no choice but to begin the Social Security disability appeal process. This process can take months or even years to get to an administrative law judge hearing. Wait times for disability hearings vary due to huge hearing backlogs in many areas of the country.
Nearly sixty-five percent of all initial disability claims end in denial, which basically means that sixty-five disability applicants out of every one hundred who file an initial disability application are denied. If all sixty-five denied disability applicants file a reconsideration appeal (this is the very first appeal that is available to claimants who have been denied) with Social Security, only about 8 or 9 additional individuals would be approved for disability benefits (the reconsideration appeal denial rate is even higher than the denial rate at the disability application level).
This basically means that, of the original one hundred individuals who filed initial an disability claim, there would still be fifty-four individuals who would have to file an appeal with an administrative law judge (formally known as a "request for hearing before an administrative law judge") in order to have any hope of receiving a social security disability award, or SSI disability award.
Although the statistics above seem dismal, it is not as bad as it appears. The chance of being approved for Social Security disability benefits dramatically improves at the administrative law judge hearing. National statistics indicate about sixty-six percent of all individuals who file disability hearing appeals are approved by an administrative law judge.
Back to our example, this means that only about thirty-four percent are denied at the disability hearing. Remember, these statistics are only a national average and that some areas have far more individuals approved for disability by judges while other areas have less. Nonetheless, by all standards, administrative law judges have the highest approval rates in the Social Security disability process.
However, to get a case heard by a judge, a claimant needs to file a reconsideration request if their disability application is denied. And if the reconsideration appeal is also denied (and it typically is), the claimant needs to file a request for a disability hearing. It should also be noted that the higher rates of approval by administrative law judges are coupled with the fact that claimants who win their cases at hearings usually have representation in the form of a disability attorney, or non-attorney disability advocate.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page