How many disability cases are denied in Ohio?

As a former disability examiner, and as someone involved in claimant representation, I have been citing statistics regarding approvals and denials of title 2 (Social Security Disability insurance, or SSDI) and title 16 disability (SSI, or supplemental security income) claims for several years. And though the statistics tend to be a bit different depending on the specific state in question, and though they change (minimally) from year to year, for the most part the national averages tend to stay the same.

In 2012, according to the social security administration, sixty-five percent of initial claims (applications for Social Security Disability, applications for SSI disability, and concurrent claims for both types of benefits) were denied. For the state of Ohio, the rate of denial at the application level is approximately 72 percent, somewhat higher than the national average.

Requests for reconsideration, the first appeal level of the SSA appeal system, were denied at a rate of eight-seven percent. The denial rate for reconsideration requests actually seems to be getting worse as, historically, about eighty-five percent of reconsiderations have usually been denied. For Ohio, however, the rate of denial at the reconsideration level is approximately 89 percent, which is, again, somewhat higher than the national average.

The bright side to the 2012 statistics, however, is that sixty-two percent of cases that were decided by administrative law judges at disability hearings were approved. This seems to be a composite statistic that does not make mention of the difference between approval rates for applicants who were approved at a hearing who had representation and those who did not have representation.

Therefore, it it mostly likely the case that, as historically has been the case, an even higher percentage of claimants were approved at hearings when a social security lawyer was involved.

How useful are these statistics and how long will they be valid? Most likely they will be valid for many years. Even in 2000, the denial rates for initial claims and reconsideration appeals were approximately 70 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

One thing is clear, however: those who file for disability in Ohio and get denied on their claim are well advised to file their first appeal. And if that appeal (the request for reconsideration) gets denied, they are further well advised to request a hearing before an administrative law judge since their chances of being approved will go up considerably at that level of the appeal process.

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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