Social Security Disability Resource Center
Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
The approval rate for Social Security disability and SSI decisions varies from state to state as well as between the levels of the Social Security disability process. The average national rate of approval for initial disability claims is 36 percent. This means about sixty four percent of all initial disability claims are denied.
Disability claimants are allowed to appeal their denial through a reconsideration appeal, or, more formally, a "request for reconsideration". The reconsideration appeal level has the lowest approval rate of all Social Security disability case levels with a national average of only 13.8 percent.
This is mostly due to the fact that reconsideration appeals are sent back to the same state disability agency for a decision (the social security act specified that states would establish separate agenices to handle the act of disability determination for the social security administration and these agencies are known as DDS, or disability determination services).
The only difference between a "recon" and a disability application is that the reconsideration appeal is sent to a different disability examiner for review. If the initial disability examiner did not make an error according to the rules and Social Security SSI guidelines there is very little likelihood that another disability examiner will overturn their decision.
Whatever the reason, reconsideration appeals are most often looked upon as a step to the next (and, statistically, most winnable) level of the Social Security disability process. If a disability claimant’s reconsideration appeal is denied, they can appeal that decision to an ALJ, or administrative law judge.
The ALJ is the decision-maker for all cases that proceed to the social security hearing level. Hearings are conducted at federal hearing offices that were formally (and more logically) known as OHA, or the office of hearings and appeals. Currently, the hearings office goes by the title of ODAR, the office of disability adjudication and review.
The disability hearing level has the highest approval rate with a national average approval rate of 62 percent. This is an extremely high approval rate considering that 13 percent of the remaining hearing appeals were dismissed for other reasons other than a denial. That makes the disability hearing appeal denial rate about 25 percent.
If a disability claimant is denied at an administrative law judge hearing, they can appeal their denial to the Appeals Council, however the approval rate for Appeals Council review appeals is only about 13 percent.
Finally, if a disability claimant’s disability case is denied through the Appeals Council, they can still appeal their decision to federal court. National statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of disability cases taken to federal court are approved.
National statistics also indicate that the rate of approval for Social Security disability decisions can vary greatly between states. While Social Security has a uniform disability process throughout the nation, individuals who make disability decisions are still "interpreting" medical, vocational, and disability guidelines and this interpretation is often subject to viewpoints that varies from state to state, or even from case processing unit to case processing unit within a state's DDS agency.
For example, Hawaii has the highest approval rate of about 52 percent for initial disability claim decisions, while Mississippi has the lowest initial disability claim approval rate of about 24 percent.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Getting disability in North Carolina
Should I hire a disability lawyer?
Can you still get SSI if you are denied SSDI?
What is the Role of a Social Security Disability Attorney?
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
Has my Disability Claim Been Approved?
The Social Security Disability Approval Process
Social Security Disability for insomnia or sleep disorders
Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
Filing with SSA for disabled child with autism
The most difficult part of the disability approval process is the length of time
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
If you apply for disability in Maryland
Will I qualify for disability benefits in Maryland?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Maryland
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.
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