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
Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Most people who apply for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits (about 70 percent) are denied on their application, and must choose to either resubmit their claim or to appeal the decision of the disability examiner in their case.
In just about every instance, it makes more sense for a disability claimant to appeal their case rather than filing a new disability claim (the exception to this rule is when their case has been denied on a technicality, such as too much monthly income or assets, and then only if this issue has changed since the initial filing). This is because, each time a claim is appealed its chances of approval increase.
All disability appeals, both SSD and SSI, are evaluated in the same state agency that makes disability determinations on the initial claim for the federal social security administration. This agency is called disability determination services (DDS) in most states, although its name may vary slightly from state to state.
Given the fact the same agency renders a decision in the appeal as in the initial claim, some applicants may wonder if appealing their claim is a waste of time, or if a case really has any better chance of being approved upon appeal if the same agency is considering the same facts.
The answer to this question is that, yes, it is almost always in a claimant’s best interest to file an appeal with social security. First of all, about 15 percent of all claims that were denied the first time they were considered, will be approved upon review. The first appeal to DDS, or request for reconsideration, is also an opportunity to introduce any new medical evidence in support of the claim that was not available or was for whatever reason omitted when the application was first filed.
Okay, so that still leaves about 85 percent of applicants who are denied disability benefits even after they have appealed the decision. However, an appeal, even if it is denied, is still useful in that it helps to move the case forward to the second level of appeal, which is to request a hearing before an administrative disability judge.
At this level, a case stands its greatest chance of winning—about half of all disability claims are approved when they are heard before a judge, and more than half are approved when the claimant has legal representation, either a disability lawyer or non-attorney advocate.
If you are older, or if your past work history includes jobs that required physical exertion or certain repetitive movements (as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome), you stand an even better chance of being approved for benefits upon reconsideration appeal or at a disability hearing.
However, anyone who suffers with a disabling medical condition, be it physical or mental, can win disability benefits, provided they can supply medical records to document that they have been diagnosed with the condition by a medical professional, have sought treatment, and are still experiencing symptoms that prevent them from earning enough to make a living.
To sum it up, the chances of winning a disability appeal are, like those of winning an initial claim, directly related to the quality of medical evidence provided to the examiner or judge making the determination, and the expertise with which this evidence is presented. That is why it is highly recommended that disability claimants retain legal counsel if they are planning to appear before an administrative judge, or even sooner if they are having difficulty gathering the information needed to support their claim.
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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