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?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
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
The Administrative Law Judge At A Disability Hearing has the highest rate of approval
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The administrative law judge appeal level has the highest rate of approval of all the levels in the Social Security disability process. About two thirds of all disability applicants who attend a disability hearing before an administrative law judge win their disability benefits. More people win their benefits at the disability hearing than the initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal levels combined.
So why is the administrative law judge hearing such a winning level for disability applicants?
Initial Social Security disability claims and reconsideration appeals are both sent to state disability agencies that are responsible for making Social Security disability determinations. State disability examiners must strictly follow the impairment listing criteria of the disability handbook “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” as well as the Social Security disability vocational guidelines when they make their disability determinations. They do not have much flexibility when making their decisions.
Basically, a disability applicant either meets or equals impairment listing criteria or they meet the vocational guidelines that, when combined with the limitations of the disability applicant, allow the examiner to approve their disability benefits on the basis of a medical vocational allowance (medical vocational allowances are based upon an individual’s age, education, past work, and residual functional capacity).
Although Administrative Law Judges have to abide by the same medical and vocational guidelines, the guidelines are much more amendable to the judges opinion as to an individual’s disability. Administrative law judges can consider the totality of an individual’s medical and/or mental conditions when they opine as to whether or not an individual is disabled or not.
They also use medical vocational experts sometimes to help them make their decisions and often these experts are more able to determine how an individual’s limitations affect their overall ability to find jobs with those limitations.
Disability applicants who follow the disability appeal process to an Administrative Law Judge Hearing are likely to get their disability benefits much sooner than disability applicants who file multiple initial disability claims. There is just no way around the fact that Administrative Law Judges have much more freedom when making their disability determinations than state agency disability examiners, so filing multiple initial disability claims is not an answer to winning disability benefits.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials