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 at a Social Security Disability Hearing

It can take well over a year after requesting a disability hearing for your case to be heard before an administrative judge. In addition, if you are at the stage where you have requested a hearing, you have most likely already waited many months to receive a decision at the two lower levels of consideration, the initial claim and the request for reconsideration appeal with disability determination services.

All of this adds up to a lengthy, often financially disastrous period of time without benefits for an individual who is unable to work. It is important, then, that when your case finally comes before a judge, you have an idea of what the odds are that you will win your case.

The good new is that a claim for disability is more likely to be approved by a judge at a disability hearing than by a disability examiner working for your state disability determination agency (while disability claims are taken in local social security office, in each state they are sent to a DDS, or disability determination services agency for processing). Statistics show that those filing for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits are far more likely to be approved when they use the appeals process than when they start over with a new claim.

Although the rate of disability approval does vary from state to state, approximately 50 percent of all cases heard at social security hearings before an administrative judge are approved. This is a composite number. The actual breakdown, according to federal statistics, is that approximately 40 percent of unrepresented claimants will win at a hearing while as much as 62 percent of claimants will win benefits following a hearing.

Older applicants fare best at this level, because the grid used to determine a personís ability to obtain suitable employment or to learn a new trade tends to support the fact that fewer job options are available to those 50 and older. Having said that, though, younger individuals are equally likely to win their claims as long as their medical records establish that they have severe limitations (of a physical or mental nature, or both) that rule out their ability to perform their past work or any other type of work that their education and skills might suit them for.

Even when a claimant is capable of representing their own case at a hearing, some judges are simply more likely to seriously consider evidence when it is presented by a lawyer. Unfortunately, disability decisions, like all decisions made by human beings, are not entirely objective.

If it was just a matter of reviewing the evidence without some level of interpretation, then your claim would be either approved or denied, and there would be no need for an appeals process. If you make sure that when your case comes before a judge it is presented in the best, most professional light possible, you can only increase the odds of winning at a disability hearing.

Continue to Part 2: Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits

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

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security disability hearing?
How do I request a social security disability hearing - How do I file?
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?
What are the questions that get asked at a social security disability or SSI hearing?

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