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
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
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).
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Topics and Questions
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