How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels

In the federal disability system, administered by the social security administration, the first level of disability appeal is called a request for reconsideration. This appeal is sent to the same state disability determination services agency (DDS) that denied the claimant’s first application, so it is not surprising that statistics show most people are not awarded benefits as a result of filing a reconsideration appeal.

Also, because reconsideration appeals are decided based on the exact same guidelines used to deny the initial disability application, it is unlikely that a claimant will get a different result unless he or she has new, persuasive medical information to add to the record. And generally this does not occur because the time distance between a decision on a disability application and a disability reconsideration tends to be fairly short (sometimes just a few weeks, and usually, at most, a handful of months).

Even though reconsideration appeals are decided by a different disability examiner than the one that reviewed the application, unless there is some significant medical evidence that documents a change or worsening in the claimant’s medical condition, or gross error on the part of the first disability examiner, the chance of winning a reconsideration disability appeal is pretty slim. Currently about 81% of all reconsideration appeals are denied.

However, at the second level of appeal, a disability hearing, claimants stand a better chance of approval. Over 61% of all people who file second appeals and who are represented are approved for disability benefits.

This indicates three things: 1) DDS denies a lot of claims that are actually valid; 2) federal Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are more likely to approve disability applications than the disability examiners employed by DDS; 3) having someone research the background of the case, gather additional evidence, and present an argument for the approval of the claim can make a substantial difference in the outcome.

Typically, most people who file for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI must appeal not once, but twice before they are approved. Most claimants do not bother to see their claim through to the end, though. According to one estimate, of the 2 million plus people who apply for disability, only 500,000 actually go through with a hearing.

Why is the number of appeals so low? Well, many claimants are not aware that being denied Social Security once is not the final word on collecting benefits. They do not realize that about 70% of all applicants are initially denied, or that so many reconsideration appeals are denied as well. And many probably just get worn down by the whole process—it can take years to appear before an ALJ (administrative law judge) because there are so many cases clogging the disability system at every level.

On the bright side, those who file a reconsideration appeal, get denied on this appeal, and then go on to pursue a Social Security Disability hearing have a very good chance of winning an SSA disability appeal. Statistically, the odds of approval are simply in favor of claimants who A) do not give up on their claims, and B) utilize the appeal system provided by socials security.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

If I get denied disability, should I get a lawyer?
Getting disability approved on a reconsideration with an attorney
Denied for disability, then my condition got worse
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
How will you be notified if you receive an Approval for Social Security Disability or SSI
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
The Social Security Disability Approval
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security Disability?
The Medical Vocational Allowance Approval for Social Security Disability and SSI cases
Can you be denied for disability even if your doctor recommends that you be approved?
Reopening of a prior waiver in my disability case
Applying for disability in Illinois
Disability Lawyers in Illinois
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Illinois?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.