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

Do Most Social Security Disability Reconsiderations Get Turned Down?

Unfortunately, most people who apply for disability benefits are turned down. In fact, only about thirty five percent of those who apply for disability benefits are approved for disability, forcing those whose disability claims were denied to make a decision as to whether or not they want to continue to pursue disability benefits through the Social Security appeal process.

If an individual decides to appeal their initial determination, they must file a reconsideration appeal within the appeal period. The appeal period is sixty days plus five days for the mailing of the decisional notice (counted from the date of that same notice).

This literally means an individual’s reconsideration appeal should be in their local Social Security office on the sixty-fifth day to be considered timely. Once the reconsideration appeal is received, it is sent to the same federally-mandated, state-level disability agency that made the initial disability denial decision (DDS, also known as the disability determination services agency).

The only difference this time around is that the individual’s reconsideration appeal is given to a different disability examiner--usually a disability examiner who specializes in handling reconsiderations and reviews of existing claims--for a decision. Unless the disability examiner who made the initial disability determination was in error or the disability claimant has new medical evidence that could make an approval possible, the decision is going to be the same.

Why is this true? The answer is actually very simple. The disability examiner who makes the reconsideration appeal decision is bound by the same strict interpretation of the disability medical and vocational disability guidelines as the initial disability examiner. The reconsideration disability examiner is also held to whatever standards are used in his or particular DDS (disability determination services).

For example, there are different DDS agencies in North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, etc, etc. And decisions that come out of one of these agencies are likely to be a bit different from the decisions that come out of other agencies. This is why you can see (as documented by federal statistics) greatly differing rates of approval and denial between states like Mississippi and Massachusetts.

But within a particular DDS agency, say, for example, the North Carolina DDS, all disability examiners will tend to make the same sorts of decisions. And this is why, if a claimant is denied on a disability application by a disability examiner at a DDS, they are likely to be denied again by the reconsideration disability examiner---because they are both at the same DDS agency for that particular state.

This explains why the reconsideration appeal approval rate is so low. The average national approval rate for reconsideration appeals is about ten to fifteen percent.

Social Security Disability is full of “turn downs” and the reconsideration appeal has the honor of having the highest turn down rate of all the levels of the disability process. The only way to see any good in the reconsideration appeal for most people is to just look at it as one step closer to an administrative law judge hearing-- which, by the way, has the highest approval rate in the disability process.

Disability hearings, as opposed to disability applications and reconsideration appeals, result in approvals for most claimants. At least forty percent of those who go to hearings without the benefit of being represented are awarded SSD or SSI disability benefits. More than sixty percent of those who go to hearings with a disability attorney are awarded disability benefits.

Why are the outcomes so different? Administrative law judges have the benefit of meeting the claimants that they render decisions for. Administrative law judges also have the benefit of being independent. Unlike disability examiners, who have several layers of supervisors, judges have the autonomy and freedom to decide cases as they see fit. Very often, this means that judges can simply employ both common sense, as well as compassion, in their decision-making.

Because the decisions of disability judges and the decisions of disability examiners can be so widely different, individuals who give up the right to appeal a denial of their initial disability claim do themselves a grave disservice. The rule of commonsense, when it comes to disability claims that are filed with the social security administration, is to always appeal after a notice of denial has been received. At least as far as the hearing level where your claim will get a fair opportunity.

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:

What Happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim gets Denied on a Reconsideration Appeal?
The Disability reconsideration Appeal - what is it and how do you file for it?
What happens if a reconsideration for Social Security Disability or SSI is denied?
Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?
Does The Social Security Disability Reconsideration Have A Time Limit?
How long does it take to get an answer on a Social Security Reconsideration Appeal?
Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
What Can You Do to Make Sure Your Social Security Disability Reconsideration Gets Approved?
Do Most Social Security Disability Reconsiderations Get Turned Down?
The difference between an Application for disability and a Social Security Reconsideration?
If you apply for disability in in Louisiana
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Louisiana

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.