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 ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
It can take well over a year after requesting a disability hearing for your case to be heard before an administrative judge. In addition, if you are at the stage where you have requested a hearing, you have most likely already waited many months to receive a decision at the two lower levels of consideration, the initial claim and the request for reconsideration appeal with disability determination services.
All of this adds up to a lengthy, often financially disastrous period of time without benefits for an individual who is unable to work. It is important, then, that when your case finally comes before a judge, you have an idea of what the odds are that you will win your case.
The good new is that a claim for disability is more likely to be approved by a judge at a federal disability hearing than by a disability examiner working for your state disability determination agency (while disability claims are taken in local social security office, in each state they are sent to a DDS, or disability determination services agency for processing). Statistics show that those filing for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits are far more likely to be approved when they use the appeals process than when they start over with a new claim.
Although the rate of disability approval does vary from state to state, approximately 50 percent of all cases heard at social security hearings before an administrative judge are approved. This is a composite number. The actual breakdown, according to federal statistics, is that approximately 40 percent of unrepresented claimants will win at a hearing while as much as 62 percent of claimants will win benefits following a hearing.
Older applicants fare best at this level, because the grid used to determine a personís ability to obtain suitable employment or to learn a new trade tends to support the fact that fewer job options are available to those 50 and older. Having said that, though, younger individuals are equally likely to win their claims as long as their medical records establish that they have severe limitations (of a physical or mental nature, or both) that rule out their ability to perform their past work or any other type of work that their education and skills might suit them for.
Even when a claimant is capable of representing their own case at a hearing, some judges are simply more likely to seriously consider evidence when it is presented by a lawyer. Unfortunately, disability decisions, like all decisions made by human beings, are not entirely objective.
If it was just a matter of reviewing the evidence without some level of interpretation, then your claim would be either approved or denied, and there would be no need for an appeals process. Make sure that when your case comes before a judge it is presented in the best, most professional light possible and you can only increase the odds of winning at a social security disability hearing.
Continue to Part 2: Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
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