Chances of winning Social Security Disability

In general, individuals who file for SSI or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance benefits) have a less than 30 percent chance of being approved on a disability application. In recent years, that figure has dropped to as low as 23 percent. If you live in a state where the first appeal is a reconsideration, then the approval rate is also very low, usually less than 15 percent and even as low as 10 percent.

Many people who file disability claims with the Social Security administration find that they must attend a hearing before an administrative law judge if they feel their disability claim has been denied erroneously at the initial disability application and reconsideration appeal levels. The disability appeal process is a lengthy one at best, and the wait for an administrative law judge hearing is a big part of the wait.

How long is the wait? It can be as long as two years from the time a hearing request is made. However, if a person is represented at a hearing, they usually stand better than a fifty percent chance of being approved. If they have well-developed medical records and a good detailed statement from a doctor, this significantly improves their chances.

Not least, of course, is the benefit of age. Those age 50 or over stand a statistically better chance because SSD and SSI rules favor older individuals. That said, younger individuals routinely win cases if the case is strong.

Why is the wait for a hearing so long? Most Social Security hearings offices are backlogged with thousands of disability claims waiting for their hearing dates. Roughly two million people file for disability each year and if even half of those individuals pursue their claims to a hearing, you can easily see how backlogs have been created and how digging out from such huge backlogs can be problematic, particularly when SSA is receiving so many new hearings appeals each year.

But, since the chance of winning is significant, provided the case is strong, well-developed, and well presented, if you are not able to work because of your disabling condition, it is best to be patient and wait for your social security hearing.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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