Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
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.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria