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Social Security Disability Approval and Denial Rates
I recently made a comment about approval and denial rates and am reposting this information here. This is based on information compiled and presented in the recent "Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance program".
Regarding the SSD system and getting through it, it is a difficult system. The rate of denial, nationally, at the initial claim level for disabled workers in the Social Security Disability program (there are other categories such as widow/widower claims and disabled adult children) has dropped in recent years to about 23 percent. The corollary to the disability application approval rate of 23 percent is that 77 percent of claims are denied.
The rate of denial for disabled workers in the Social Security Disability program at the reconsideration appeal level (the first appeal) has dropped to about 10 percent (in prior years it was 12-14 percent). A reconsideration appeal rate of approval of 10 percent also means a denial rate of 90 percent.
However, the allowance rate for disabled workers in the Social Security Disability program at the disability hearing level was recently recorded at 76 percent. That figure dropped to 55 percent when a case involved both SSD and SSI.
Note: this information was provided by the Social Security Administration in 2012. It seems that approval rates have continued to drop very significantly since then, thus making it even more important to 1. not fail to file appeals, 2, continue to have recent medical evidence supporting a claim, 3. comply with all DDS requests for information, 4. go to all scheduled appointments, and 5. get representation at the very least by the time it is clear that the case is progressing to the disability hearing level.
The reality is that individuals who pursue their claims to the hearing level will have a good chance of winning benefits. SSA, in the opinion of many, actually counts on people to give up and drop out of the process at the earlier levels. And many do because the process is so very long.
As for attorneys and representatives, I would advise anyone who has a hearing to get a competent representative because those 2-3 years of applications and appeals that occur BEFORE the hearing takes place will be wasted if someone is not prepared for that disability hearing (which often takes just 20 minutes).
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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.