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 kind of cases win disability benefits ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Unfortunately, there are no specific kinds of cases that win disability benefits, as each person who files for Social Security disability or SSI disability has unique conditions and limitations.
However, disability cases that involve paralysis of extremities, mental retardation (depending on severity), statutory blindness, total deafness, terminal disease processes such as cancer, ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), severe cardiovascular impairments, kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant, and severe neurological impairments that cause significant disruption of function are likely candidates for approval of disability benefits at the initial disability claim level.
The reason that these types of conditions often win disability benefits at the initial disability claim level is that they often meet or equal the listing criteria of an impairment listing. Social Security has a disability handbook known as the blue book that contains a list of impairments of all of the body systems. Each of these impairment listings has the criteria needed to meet or equal the severity requirements of Social Security disability (and SSI since both programs are evaluated in the same way).
People who have cases that involve these conditions listed above and other severe conditions are more likely to win their disability benefits on their initial claim (disability application).
However, this does not mean that people who file for disability with other conditions will not win their disability cases at some point in the Social Security disability appeal process.
The Odds of Winning on the First Appeal
If an initial disability case does not win disability benefits, the disability applicant may still win benefits at one of the appeal levels. The first appeal level is a request for reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeals have the lowest chance of winning an applicant disability benefits (depending on one's state of residence, they may only have a 12-14 percent chance of being approved for disability at the reconsideration level).
Reconsiderations are just a review of the initial disability determination. If the disability examiner who made the initial disability decision was correct according to the criteria outlined in the blue book, there is very little chance of a disability case’s medical decision being changed.
The Increased Odds of Winning at a Hearing
However, the reconsideration appeal is still a necessary step toward a disability case winning disability benefits. This is because if a disability applicant sticks with the process they will file a second appeal. The second appeal is a request for hearing before an administrative law judge. Statistically, the odds are in favor of claimants who pursue their claim to the hearing level, particularly if their case is well prepared and well presented.
Claimants with representation typically have a better than sixty percent chance of winning benefits at a disability hearing conducted by a federal administrative law judge. And disability cases involving the following conditions have a very good chance of winning disability benefits at a hearing:
Social Security does not decide disability cases on the basis of a diagnosis, no matter what that diagnosis is.
SSA will award disability benefits on the basis of how limiting an impairment is to a person’s functional ability. If a claimant's medical records support the contention that a person is unable to perform the duties of their past work and also any other kind of job that their vocational work skills might possibly qualify them for, their case may win disability benefits.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page