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
Will I be approved for disability on my appeal ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
A disability applicant’s chance of being approved for disability on their appeal is not guaranteed and will depend on the merits of the case as well as the level of the appeal. One fact, though, is very clear: the first appeal that a claimant who has been denied for disability can file has a low probability of success while the second appeal (the disability hearing) has dramatically higher chances of resulting in a social security disability or SSI award. To get to the second appeal, however, a claimant must go through the process of filing the first appeal.
The First Appeal
If you are filing a reconsideration appeal, it is unlikely you will win your appeal. It has been estimated that only 10 or 15 percent of initial claim denials are overturned at the reconsideration appeal level (recent reports indicate a 12-14 percent chance of approval at this level, depending on one’s state of residence).
Why is it that reconsideration appeals are so heavily denied? Reconsiderations are sent back to the same state disability agency (in most states, the agency is called DDS, Disability Determination Services) for a decision; therefore the same procedures and methods of evaluation are applied to reconsideration appeals that were applied to the initial disability claim. The only real difference between how an initial disability application and a reconsideration appeal are handled has to do with the fact that a different disability examiner decides the outcome of the reconsideration. As you might guess, if the reconsideration level examiner does not believe there were errors in the initial disability, or no new substantial medical records are presented, then it is likely that the reconsideration appeal decision will be the same.
The Second Appeal
An administrative law judge at a disability hearing, on the other hand, has more flexibility when making the decision for your disability claim. What do we mean by “more flexibility”? It can be summed up this way:
How many cases are approved at a disability hearing?
With regard to this question, statistics change year by year. They also vary by state. It is often quoted that the average disability hearing approval rate is about sixty-five percent; when you consider another ten percent of dismissed are dismissed for reasons other than a denial, this is an extremely high approval rate. A federal statistic in recent years indicated that approximately forty-percent of claims were approved at the hearing level if a claimant went to the hearing without the benefit of social security representation, while sixty-two percent of represented claimants were awarded benefits.
If you fall into the percentage of cases who are not approved at their disability hearing appeal, you are at a decision point. You can appeal your disability hearing decision by filing an Appeals Council Review appea,l or you can file a new claim for disability benefits. New Social Security rules prohibit filing a new disability claim while you wait on your on Appeal Council Review decision. If you have an attorney or non-attorney representative, they can advise you as to which path you should take.
If you do not have a disability representative, you have to make the choice. Very few Appeal Council Review appeals end in an outright approval for disability. Most appeals are denied with a few being remanded back--to the administrative law judge who made the original decision--for review. Even those disability cases that are remanded to the ALJ for review are often denied. You or your representative must decide whether this appeal is an unnecessary waste of time or it is worthwhile for you to wait the that time it takes to get their decision before filing a new disa
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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