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

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.

But...to 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.

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:

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

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

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.