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

What kind of Final Decision can I receive on my Disability Application?

Disability Decisions at the Initial Claim and First Appeal Levels

If you have a pending application for disability, or you are waiting on a decision for a request for reconsideration appeal, the decision you receive can only be a disability approval or a disability denial.

In either case, after your medical records and "other evidence" is reviewed (for an adult, this would be information regarding one's work history and normal daily activities, and for a child this would constitute information that substantiates the child's ability or inability to engage in age-appropriate activities, typically meaning academic, IQ, and achievement records), you will receive written notification of the decision.

If an approval occurs, you will be informed of the amount of your ongoing monthly benefit payments, how much you may receive in back pay, and when your benefits may commence. If a denial of benefits occurs, you will receive some explanation (generally brief) as to why the claim was denied, as well as an explanation of your appeal rights.

How often do approvals and denials occur on disability claims? National statistics have been fairly consistent with regard to approval and denial rates over the past decade. On average, about 30 percent of all disability claims are approved at the disability application level. At the reconsideration level (the first appeal that can be filed, which is also decided by a disability examiner at DDS, or disability determination services), only about 13-15 percent of claims receive an approval.

It goes without saying, of course, that a person who has been denied should immediately file their next available appeal. The social security administration will allow 60 days for the filing of a disability appeal (plus an additional five days added to this for mailing the appeal paperwork); however, it is always best to get an appeal submitted as quickly as possible to eliminate processing time and also to allow a "cushion" in case it is later learned that the appeal paperwork that was submitted was not received by SSA.

Disability Decisions at the Social Security Hearing Level

Decisions on cases that occur at the disability hearing level allow for more variation. If a claimant has had a hearing and the administrative law judge has decided to deny the claim, the claimant will receive an Unfavorable Notice of Decision. This decision will synopsize the evidence that was presented at the hearing and explain the basis for the decision of the judge. If the claim is approved, it may come in the form of a Partially Favorable Decision or a Fully Favorable Decision.

If the disability decision made by a judge is "fully favorable", this will mean that A) the judge has determined that the claimant, via their medical and vocational evidence, has satisfied the Social security administration definition of disability (meaning that their condition is severe enough to prevent substantial, gainful work activity for 12 months or longer, or may even result in death) and B) the available medical evidence supports the onset date that has been alleged by the claimant.

The alleged onset date, or AOD, of course, is the date stated by the claimant as to when their condition became severe enough to be disabling. A fully favorable decision by a judge simply means that the judge has concluded that the claimant is, in fact, disabled, and is disabled as of when they claimed on their application for disability (meaning the AOD).

If the decision that is delivered by the judge is "partially favorable", this will mean that the judge has found the claimant to be fully disabled, but that the claimant's condition did not become disabling at the time the claimant has alleged or contended. In such cases, the judge will determine that the claimant's EOD, or established onset date, is later than was claimed.

This will usually make no difference as to when monthly disability benefits will be received; however, a less than fully favorable (i.e. partially favorable) onset date can make a difference in the amount of back pay received.

It can also make a difference as to when medicare coverage begins. And this is exactly why, in some cases, a disability attorney may decide to appeal the judge's decision if it has been partially favorable (though, in most cases, it will usually be safer for the claimant to accept the decision as it has been rendered by the judge).

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:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
Filing an Application for Disability Benefits under SSD or SSI - Step by Step
Tips on how to file for disability
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
What happens after I file my disability claim with Social Security?
What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
If you get denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made
Getting SSDI but making too much money
Would I eligible for SSD if I file now since I was disabled at the time I stopped working?
If you apply for disability in Maryland
Will I qualify for disability benefits in Maryland?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Maryland

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.