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

Why are so many claims at the disability application level denied?

Someone recently posted that they had no idea that most claims are denied. When I read statements like that, sometimes for a split second I think "how could you not know that?". However, that only lasts for a fraction of a second. Because, logically, why would someone think that. After all, most individuals do not want to file for disability. And many put off doing so for years. They only finally take the step of applying for disability once it has become painfully clear to them that they have no other choice. Because of their mental or physical condition, they no longer have the ability to work and earn what SSA calls a substantial and gainful income.

So, to address the question, are most disability claims denied? Yes, the rates of approval and denial vary by state, but it has always been fairly accurate to say that, on a national basis, about seven out of 10 initial claims are denied.

Why are so many claims at the disability application level denied? There are many answers to this question. And you could go on for quite a while discussing the various reasons.

However, I like to focus on the fact that most claims are denied initially, an even higher percentage are denied at the first appeal level (the request for reconsideration appeal), and then, suddenly, at the disability hearing level, the odds tilt in the claimant's favor. And there are various reasons one could entertain as to why hearings are more successful, particularly for claimants who have representation provided by a disability attorney or non-attorney disability representative. some extent those reasons are rationalizations. The bald truth is that the disability system is biased and titled against claimants. Purposeful or not, it is set up in such a way that those who start the process have an unfavorable chance of winning, while those persist and file appeals see their chances for approval rise significantly.

And this is why my advice has always been this: if you have a physical condition or mental condition that impairs your ability to work, and your current earnings are below the SGA limit, apply for disability. If you get denied for disability, file an appeal. If you get denied on this first appeal, file a request for a hearing. And absolutely, by this time, make sure you have a disability lawyer or a disability representative assisting you so you can maximize your chances of winning benefits.

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

Related pages:

Social Security Disability decisions make little sense
Understanding Fats for Heart Disease
Can you be approved for disability without an appeal?
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
Preparation to win a disability hearing
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled
Forms for Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Criteria
Denied disability by ALJ
How long to get a Social Security decision letter?
Filing for disability with sciatica
How does the Social Security Disability Appeal Process work?
Are SSDI and SSI Benefits Normally Continued After A Continuing Disability Review?
How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI
SSI award notices are received by approved claimants

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

My Social Security Disability SSI appeal status
Disability back pay, how it works
Eligibility criteria requirements for disability
Qualifying requirements for disability
Decision on disability case, are you eligible for a disability award
When is a Person Considered Disabled by Social Security?
Forms to appeal a Social Security Disability denial
Permanent disability benefits
How to qualify for disability with depression
If Social Security sends you to a psychiatrist
Disability denied twice
How to claim disability
How many times will Social Security deny you?
Applying for Disability with high blood pressure
Will my children get benefits if I get approved for disability?
How much time for a decision on a disability claim?
Can you work if you get an SSI disability check?
How to File for SSI
Filing for disability, how to apply for SSD, SSI
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
How to get disability
How to appeal a disability denial