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

Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal

Most people who apply for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits (about 70 percent) are denied on their application, and must choose to either resubmit their claim or to appeal the decision of the disability examiner in their case.

In just about every instance, it makes more sense for a disability claimant to appeal their case rather than filing a new disability claim (the exception to this rule is when their case has been denied on a technicality, such as too much monthly income or assets, and then only if this issue has changed since the initial filing). This is because, each time a claim is appealed its chances of approval increase.

All disability appeals, both SSD and SSI, are evaluated in the same state agency that makes disability determinations on the initial claim for the federal social security administration. This agency is called disability determination services (DDS) in most states, although its name may vary slightly from state to state.

Given the fact the same agency renders a decision in the appeal as in the initial claim, some applicants may wonder if appealing their claim is a waste of time, or if a case really has any better chance of being approved upon appeal if the same agency is considering the same facts.

The answer to this question is that, yes, it is almost always in a claimant’s best interest to file an appeal with social security. First of all, about 15 percent of all claims that were denied the first time they were considered, will be approved upon review. The first appeal to DDS, or request for reconsideration, is also an opportunity to introduce any new medical evidence in support of the claim that was not available or was for whatever reason omitted when the application was first filed.

Okay, so that still leaves about 85 percent of applicants who are denied disability benefits even after they have appealed the decision. However, an appeal, even if it is denied, is still useful in that it helps to move the case forward to the second level of appeal, which is to request a hearing before an administrative disability judge.

At this level, a case stands its greatest chance of winning—about half of all disability claims are approved when they are heard before a judge, and more than half are approved when the claimant has legal representation, either a disability lawyer or non-attorney advocate.

If you are older, or if your past work history includes jobs that required physical exertion or certain repetitive movements (as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome), you stand an even better chance of being approved for benefits upon reconsideration appeal or at a disability hearing.

However, anyone who suffers with a disabling medical condition, be it physical or mental, can win disability benefits, provided they can supply medical records to document that they have been diagnosed with the condition by a medical professional, have sought treatment, and are still experiencing symptoms that prevent them from earning enough to make a living.

To sum it up, the chances of winning a disability appeal are, like those of winning an initial claim, directly related to the quality of medical evidence provided to the examiner or judge making the determination, and the expertise with which this evidence is presented. That is why it is highly recommended that disability claimants retain legal counsel if they are planning to appear before an administrative judge, or even sooner if they are having difficulty gathering the information needed to support their claim.

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

Related pages:

How can I win Social Security Disability benefits?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
What kind of cases win disability benefits?
How Likely are You to Win Your Disability Case?
Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal
What Will a Disability Lawyer Do to Win a Social Security Case?
What are the chances of winning a Social Security Disability Benefits hearing?
Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
Winning Social Security Disability Benefits For Mental Disorders
Why does Social Security take five months of benefits when you are awarded?

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