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

What Are the Chances of Winning Disability on an Appeal?


Your chances of winning disability

Roughly 30 percent of initial disability claims (i.e. disability applications) for SSD and SSI are approved, which means that approximately 70 percent of all individuals who apply for Disability are denied.

Three out of ten may not represent the best odds, but this is simply the first step of the disability claim process. Individuals who pursue their claim through the appeal process stand a favorable chance of being approved when they finally get to the hearing level.

Filing your disability appeal if you get denied

If you receive a disability denial, you should appeal it and do it quickly. Not only do you want to avoid missing an appeal deadline (you have 60 days but many people wait too long), you also want to reduce how much time your case takes. This can affect you financially as your case moves through the very slow disability system.

The first appeal: The Request for Reconsideration

The first disability appeal is the request for reconsideration. Your chance of winning an appeal at this level is limited at best. Regardless of the state you live in, it is fairly consistent that only 10 to 15 percent of reconsideration appeals result in an approval.

Why is my reconsideration likely to be denied?

The reason so many reconsiderations get denied is that there is no real difference between how a reconsideration appeal and a disability application are handled. In fact, since the process is identical and the two stages are separated only by a number of weeks, why would the decision be any different?

The only difference between an initial disability decision and a reconsideration appeal decision is that the reconsideration is sent to a different disability examiner. If the initial disability examiner did not make an error according to Social Security rules and guidelines, its unlikely that the reconsideration examiner will reverse the first denial and that a person will win their claim at this level.

The second appeal: The Disability hearing

The disability hearing is by far a more important appeal and you should really consider the request for reconsideration as a just necessary stepping stone to get to the hearing. If you are denied on your reconsideration, and about 90 percent of all people are, then you should immediately file your request for a hearing.

Statistics show that you may have a better than 50 percent chance of winning your benefits at a hearing and the rate of approval is markedly higher when the case is properly prepared and presented to the judge. This usually means having a disability lawyer to help on the case.

Why are you more likely to win disability at a hearing?

Administrative law judges have more flexibility in making their disability determinations than state disability agency examiners, and to some extent this may account for why more individuals are approved for Social Security Disability or SSI at this appeal level than any other level of the Social Security Disability process.

However, higher approvals at disability hearings are the result of several factors:

1. The hearing is the only step at which you can meet and speak with the decision-maker, the judge.

2. You or your disability attorney can present an argument for being approved.

3. Your attorney can present statements at the hearing that were obtained from your doctor or doctors.

4. Your attorney will understand what happened on your first two denials and why you should be appproved.

5. Your attorney can cross-examine any vocational or medical experts that the judge has at the hearing.

The chances of winning your disability benefits will usually depend upon your use of the Social Security appeals process; if you follow the process to an administrative law judge hearing your chances of winning disability benefits are actually good.

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:

What Are The Odds of Winning A Social Security Disability Appeal?
How does the Social Security Disability Appeal Process work?
Can You Appeal A Decision By A Judge On A Social Security Disability or SSI Case?
If You Get Denied For Disability Should You appeal Or file A New Claim?
If you appeal a Social Security Disability denial, how long does it take to receive a decision?
How long does it take to appeal a disability case?
Your Chances With SSDI Disability or SSI On the First Appeal, The Reconsideration
Social Security Disability Appeal Deadlines Are Always 60 Days
Doing the SSDI Appeal Online
What is the process to file a Social Security Disability appeal?
What is the Social Security Appeals Time Limit
What If you intended an appeal of your Social Security Disability claim but missed the deadline?
What Happens If You File A Late Social Security Appeal? (What is Good Cause?)

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

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.