One out of three disability applications are approved and the rest can appeal

When it comes to eligibility for Social Security Disability or SSI, this is easily one of the oldest and most perpetuated myths out there. However---it is very easy to understand why it exists. Why? Because, because most applicants for disability benefits will tend to fall into the following scenario:

1. They will apply for disability with social security.

2. They will, within a few months (sometimes weeks, but usually three to four months), get denied for disability.

3. Of those who choose to file a request for reconsideration, the first appeal in the federal disability system, most will get denied (nationally, about 85 percent, which is actually significantly higher than the denial rate for initial claims.

4. Of those who choose to file a request for a disability hearing, about fifty percent will be approved for disability after a hearing is held.

So, it isn't necessarily true that a claimant will need three tries to get approved for disability. In fact, for every ten individuals who file a claim, three out of ten will be approved.


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However, a thirty percent approval rate also means a seventy percent initial claim denial rate, which is not encouraging. But, for those tho persist and file disability appeals, the chance of being approved later at a hearing is fairly decent. Roughly forty percent of individuals who go to a hearing by themselves will be approved for benefits, while a little over sixty percent of indivduals who go to a hearing with a disability lawyer or disability representative will be approved for benefits.

The lesson to take from this is, of course, if you are denied for SSD or SSI, do not give up on your claim. File an appeal and if this first appeal is denied, file the second appeal (the hearing request).

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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