Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

What are the chances of getting approved for disability at each level?

The statistical information on social security disability approvals and denials tends to change a bit with regard to two considerations: time and location.

Related: The rate of approval for Social Security disability and SSI decisions.

With regard to location, the approval and denial rates will differ from state to state (the social security administration's disability claim system is federal, yet you see noteworthy differences in outcome when comparing individual states, particularly "red" versus "blue" states).

With regard to time, its sufficient to say that the average national statistics change a bit over time. However, it's also safe to say that they don't change that much and so we can somewhat reliably continue to state that, on average, about one-third of all those who apply for disability will be approved for disability benefits at the initial claim level (the application for disability).

At the first appeal level, the request for reconsideration, about fifteen percent will be approved. And at the disability hearing level, roughly half will be approved; more specifically about forty percent who are not represented at the hearing will be approved and about sixty percent who are represented by a disability attorney or a non-attorney claimant's representative will be approved.

How does all of this translate? Let's construct a simple example. The example will, of course, rely on certain assumptions: that all denied claimants will decide to file the appeals they are eligible for and that no one will file a brand new claim in the mistaken assumption that this is the same thing as filing an appeal (sad, but it happens all the time).

1. 100 people apply for disability.

2. If 35 percent are approved at the initial claim level, then 35 of these individuals will be approved and 65 will be denied.

3. If the 65 who were denied decide to file their first appeal, a request for reconsideration, then approximately 10 of these individuals will be approved.

* At this point, the total of individuals, from the group of 100, that have been approved, numbers 45.

4. If the remaining 55 who were denied on a reconsideration appeal (65-10=55) decide to file their next appeal, the request for hearing before an administrative law judge, then manage to wait for their hearing to be scheduled, and then show up for the hearing (again, you'd be amazed at how many individuals do not show up for their hearing after waiting so long for one to be scheduled), then either 22 or 33 more individuals will be approved.

22 is the number of individuals who would be be approved if they went to their hearing without representation. 33 is the number of individuals who would be approved if they went to their hearing with representation (according to a federal statistic from recent years, claimants represented at hearings had a 62% percent likelihood of being approved for disability at a hearing if they had representation, which also translated to a fifty percent increased chance of being approved at a hearing if they had representation versus going to the hearing alone).

5. Add up the numbers and you get the following: of the original 100 applicants for disability, as many as 67 individuals were approved for disability. If you assume that everyone who went to a hearing had representation, then as many as 78 out of the original 100 applicants were approved for disability.

Now, is this example true to life? Not really. Why? Because some claimants give up along the way and do not file their appeals, some continually file new claims instead of filing appeals, some miss filing deadlines, some fail to show for their hearings, and some decide to "go it alone" at a hearing versus getting representation.

However, it does illustrate this one fact: if you get denied for disability, you stand an excellent chance of eventually being approved if you simply do not give up, i.e. you file your appeals and go to your disability hearing prepared.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Who is eligible for SSI, how do I apply?
How to File for SSI
Permanent disability benefits
Disability requirements, eligibility, criteria
Applying for disability, medical conditions
How long does it take to get a disability approval letter?
When should I have doctor complete a statement for my disability case?
Will you need a disability attorney if you have a mental condition?
Disability back pay benefit for the five month waiting period
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Disability for a mental condition
Tips for Filing for disability
Financial Help Filing For Disability
Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
Filing a disability application: the steps
Disability award notice, how long it takes to get benefits
How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
What makes you eligible to get disability?
How to check my disability claim status?
Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
SSI disability Award Letter
How long to get approved for disability?
How to apply for disability benefits
How long does disability back pay take?
What are qualifications for getting disability?
What medical conditions can you file disability for?
Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives