What are the odds of getting SSI the first time?

Will I get SSI the first time I file?

Many people think that there is no chance of being approved for SSI or SSDI the first time they file. While it is true that more disability applicants are denied than approved at this level, depending on the state in which a person resides between 25-30 percent of those who file for disability are approved the first time they file.

Related: How to improve the chances of being approved for disability
Related: How to win disability

In order for an individual to be approved for disability the first time they file, they most likely have a disabling condition that meets or equals an impairment listing or their condition should so severe that it results in physical and/or mental limitations that clearly prevents any kind of substantial work activity. This is with regard to the work they have done in the past, and is also with regard to other types of work that Social Security might otherwise consider them eligible to perform based on age, education, limitations, and work skills.

While many disabled individuals have the medical evidence to support a finding of disabled, more than 60% of those who file do not.

If you are not approved for SSI or SSDI the first time, you should file an appeal of the initial disability decision. An appeal gets your claim to the next step where it can be evaluated again. However, it also does something else that many people do not consider.

Appealing and disability back pay

Filing a disability appeal protects your date of filing which in turn protects your potential back payment of disability benefits. Do not be discouraged with your reconsideration appeal as this level of the Social Security Disability process has the most dismal approval rate of all. Only about 12-14% of the disability applicants who file reconsideration appeals will have their initial disability decision reversed to an approval.

If your reconsideration is denied you should file for an administrative law judge hearing. Though approval rates at hearings vary by year and by state, Social Security ALJs, or administrative law judges, approve about 41% of their disability claims; consequently they provide the best odds of getting SSI or SSDI benefits approved.

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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