Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
The odds of being approved for disability or denied for disability by an administrative law judge will vary depending on several factors. One of those is the judge. Some ALJs have higher rates of approval than others and some ALJs are notorious when it comes to how many claims (including solid claims with substantial medical evidence) they turn down. Unfortunately, there is little a claimant, or a claimant's attorney can do about the judge that is assigned to their case.
However, what can be done is this: presenting a claim before the administrative law judge in a prepared and professional manner. This means having familiarity with the facts of the case (including records that were previously submitted and the basis for prior denials), having an acute understanding of how social security disability and SSI claims are decided, and having provided whatever additional medical record documentation is required for the hearing. Doubtless, some federal disability judges are apt to take a dim view of claimants who show up poorly prepared for their own disability hearings.
Another factor that will affect the outcome of a case will simply be the strength of the case itself. What determines how strong a case is? The medical records that constitute the evidence for the case. Unfortunately, in many cases, the records will be weak because they will fail to establish the claimant's physical or mental limitations (medical records tend to lack detail when it comes to delineating a person's functional capacity). One way to get around this, of course, will be for the claimant (in actuality, usually the claimant's social security attorney) to obtain a supporting statement from their treating physician, i.e. a doctor who has some history of providing medical treatment to them and who is therefore qualified to comment on their prognosis and limitations.
What are the actual odds of receiving a disability denial from a judge at a disability hearing. Recent statistics indicate that, for all types of cases and all ages of claimants, more than sixty percent of hearings result in an approval of disability benefits. However, children's cases tend to be denied more heavily than adult cases (children often have conditions, such as asthma and seizure disorder, which improve as they get older), so we can likely conclude that adults will have a better than sixty percent chance of winning benefits.
Furthermore, it is an established fact that claimants who go to hearings represented by counsel are more likely to win disability benefits as well. To some small extent, this may be because judges give more credence to cases in which the claimant has obtained representation.
However, the higher win rates for represented claims probably have much more to do with the simple fact that a claim involving an experienced social security attorney will be more likely to be properly prepared, meaning that the attorney will have spent time analyzing the case, the factors leading to the case being denied at earlier levels, and obtaining additional medical evidence, including medical source statements from the claimant's treating physician (or treating physicians if the claimant has multiple doctors).
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security disability hearing?
How do I request a social security disability hearing - How do I file?
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?
What are the questions that get asked at a social security disability or SSI hearing?
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