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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

Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?



 
A disability applicant’s chance of being approved for disability on appeal is not guaranteed and will depend on the merits of the case as well as the level of the appeal. One fact, though, is very clear: the first appeal that a claimant who has been denied for disability can file has a low probability of success while the second appeal (the disability hearing) has dramatically higher chances of resulting in a Social Security Disability or SSI award. To get to the second appeal, however, a claimant must go through the process of filing the first appeal.

The First Appeal

If you are filing a reconsideration appeal, it is unlikely you will win your appeal. It has been estimated that only 10 or 15 percent of initial claim denials are overturned at the reconsideration appeal level (recent reports indicate a 12-14 percent chance of approval at this level, depending on one’s state of residence).

Why is it that reconsideration appeals are so heavily denied? Reconsiderations are sent back to the same state disability agency (in most states, the agency is called DDS, Disability Determination Services) for a decision; therefore the same procedures and methods of evaluation are applied to reconsideration appeals that were applied to the initial disability claim.



The only real difference between how an initial disability application and a reconsideration appeal are handled has to do with the fact that a different disability examiner decides the outcome of the reconsideration. As you might guess, if the reconsideration level examiner does not believe there were errors in the initial disability, or no new substantial medical records are presented, then it is likely that the reconsideration appeal decision will be the same.

The Second Appeal

An administrative law judge at a disability hearing, on the other hand, has more flexibility when making the decision for your disability claim. What do we mean by “more flexibility”? It can be summed up this way:
  1. The disability judge will not have his or her decision reviewed by a supervisor who is concerned with how many approvals have been made by his or her case processing unit.

  2. The judge will typically respect the opinion of the claimant’s treating physician; whereas the disability examiner’s agency (DDS) historically has a low rate of compliance with regard to giving the opinion of a claimant’s doctor the appropriate weight of consideration.

  3. The judge will, if they deem fit, bring in a vocational witness to further develop the claimant’s likelihood (or not) of being able to re-enter the workforce, based on their condition, education, and skills.

  4. The judge will hear arguments and a rationale for approval from either the claimant or their disability lawyer if they are represented (at a hearing, disability representation is strongly recommended).
For these reasons and more, statistically there are far more disability approvals at the hearing appeal level. For most disability applicants, their best chance for a disability approval will be at the administrative law judge hearing.

How many cases are approved at a disability hearing?

With regard to this question, statistics change year by year. They also vary by state. It is often quoted that the average disability hearing approval rate is about sixty-five percent; when you consider another ten percent of dismissed are dismissed for reasons other than a denial, this is an extremely high approval rate.

A federal statistic in recent years indicated that approximately forty-percent of claims were approved at the hearing level if a claimant went to the hearing without the benefit of social security representation, while sixty-two percent of represented claimants were awarded benefits.

If you fall into the percentage of cases who are not approved, denied, at their disability hearing, you are at a decision point. You can appeal your disability hearing decision by filing an Appeals Council Review appea,l or you can file a new claim for disability benefits. New Social Security rules prohibit filing a new disability claim while you wait on your on Appeal Council Review decision. If you have an attorney or non-attorney representative, they can advise you as to which path you should take.

If you do not have a disability representative, you have to make the choice. Very few Appeal Council Review appeals end in an outright approval for disability. Most appeals are denied with a few being remanded back--to the administrative law judge who made the original decision--for review.

But even those disability cases that are remanded to the ALJ for review are often denied. You or your representative must decide whether this appeal is an unnecessary waste of time or it is worthwhile for you to wait the that time it takes to get their decision before filing a new disability claim.








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

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Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

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Who can help me file for disability?




Related pages:

Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How Long Will It Take To Get Approved for Disability and what determines this?
Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
Is There A Way To Get Automatically Approved For SSI And Social Security Disability?
How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
What are the Odds or Chances of Being Approved for Disability?
How do you find out if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or even denied?
Can You Get Approved For Social Security Disability if you do not take medication or go to a doctor?
What are my chances of being approved for disability benefits in North Carolina?



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.