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

If you are denied for disability are you able to win social security or SSI benefits on appeal?

Yes, and it is more often the case that those who file for disability will win their benefits on a social security appeal versus winning on an initial claim. Only about a third of all applicants will be awarded disability benefits after filing at the initial level. The remaining two-thirds will be denied.

Of those individuals, the ones who file their first available appeal (the request for reconsideration) will have only a minimal chance of being approved (historically, about 13-15 percent of recons are approved).

However, for those who persist and file their second appeal (a request for a social security hearing), the odds of approval will increase substantially.

Typically, more than half of all applicants who appear at a disability hearing will be awarded social security disability or SSI benefits. The rate of approval differs by state, and is also affected by whether or not a person is represented by a disability lawyer, a non-attorney disability representative, or has chosen to represent themselves.

Without a doubt, this is the worst possible option since it can assumed that nearly all applicants will have no idea of how to properly and completely prepare a case to be heard by an administrative law judge, or even how to interpret the information that is in their own file.

The disability hearing, obviously, represents the best opportunity for being approved if one is represented. And this is because an experienced claimant's representative (as we said, an attorney or non-attorney can fill the role) will have familiarity with:

A) How cases are determined, both procedurally and as required by law and regulation;

B) The definition of disability used by the social security administration;

C) How vocational (work related) and medical information is viewed by SSA;

D) The importance of obtaining a medical source statement from a claimant's treating physician.

E) The information that was used to decide the case at the levels prior to the hearing level (the application and the reconsideration).

Having said this, though, it is not impossible to win a disability claim at the reconsideration level. Because the rate of denial on reconsideration appeals (remember that the reconsideration is the first appeal and it is also handled by a disability examiner, albeit a different disability examiner than the one who handled the initial claim) is so high (85-87 percent), many people simply assume that it is nearly impossible to win at that level.

Obviously, simply using an observation of case outcomes, this may seem very true. But cases at this level can be won when an effort is made to provide sufficient medical record documentation to the disability examiner who is working on the case, particularly when a strong effort is made to obtain a statement from the claimant's treating physician that is backed up by that doctor's own history of treatment with the claimant.

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

Related pages:

How to Appeal a disability claim denial from Social Security
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
What is a Social Security Disability Denial based on?
Are there ways to avoid being denied for SSI or social security disability?
What does a Disability Denial Letter from Social Security say?
Reconsideration of a Social Security Disability denial- what does it involve?
What to do if you receive notification of a Social Security Disability or SSI claim denial
If you receive a Social Security Disability Denial quickly does that mean the case is weak?
What happens if my SSI or Social Security Disability Application is denied?
Social Security Disability Denied The Reasons Why (medical denials)
Can you get disability benefits while you wait for your hearing to be scheduled?
How many hours can you work if you are receiving social security disability?
Decisions on disability applications, fully and partially favorable
How do you get Social Security Disability?

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria