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
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
As a former disability examiner, I know that many people think a disability claim has to be denied a certain amount of times before being approved. This is a fallacy. There is no certain amount of denials that will guarantee an approval for disability benefits and not all initial disability claimants are denied. I cannot count the number of times claimants asked or halfway told me they thought their disability claim would be summarily denied at the initial disability claim level for no other reason except that “they heard all initial disability claims were denied and that it took two or three more to be approved”.
If this not the case, then what are the chances of being approved for disability at the initial disability claim level (i.e. the disability application level)? Across the nation, initial disability claim approval rates are an average of thirty to thirty-five percent. While that is not the best of rates, it still means that many individuals are approved at this level of the Social Security disability process.
If an individual is denied, it is to their benefit to appeal the denial rather than file a new disability claim. It would stand to reason if a person’s disability claim is denied, the decision is not going to change if they just file another disability claim (which will be sent to the same state disability agency, DDS, also known as disability determination services). More than likely, it will just be denied for the same reasons that their first disability claim was denied.
While reconsideration appeal (the request for reconsideration is the first appeal that may be filed) approval rates are dismal--about ten to fifteen percent--they are still a step in the right direction. Reconsideration appeals are also sent to disability determination services for a medical decision; the only difference is that another disability examiner reviews the file and makes a decision. Logically, unless the first disability examiner made a mistake, or new medical evidence has come to light, the reconsideration appeal may be denied for the same reasons that the initial disability claim was denied.
It may seem like the reconsideration appeal is no better than filing a new disability claim at first glance. However, filing a reconsideration is much better than filing another initial disability claim (in other words, filing a brand new claim) because it is a step closer toward a social security disability hearing conducted by an administrative law judge, or ALJ. If the reconsideration appeal is denied, and this is usually the case, then the disability claimant can file a formal "request for hearing before an administrative law judge".
The ALJ hearing results in an approval for benefits for about two thirds of all disability claimants who follow the appeal process to the hearing level. While an individual may receive several denials prior to winning their disability benefits, they will win their benefits must faster if they follow the appeal process. Even if they have to go through the appeal process more than one time, they are still more likely to be approved for disability benefits than a disability claimant who files a multitude of initial disability claims.
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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