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

What are the Odds or Chances of Being Approved for Disability?

At the first level of the social security disability and SSI system, the national average statistics are that approximately thirty percent of all claims will be granted.

When a claim is granted and an award for social security disability or SSI is made, the claimant will typically receive a notice of award which contains information as to the payment amounts (disability back pay and ongoing monthly benefits) and when payment can be expected to be received. If a case is approved following a hearing before an administrative law judge, the claimant will receive a favorable notice of decision, which explains why the case was approved, and will then subsequently receive the notice of award.

The corollary to the thirty percent approval rate for an initial claim, i.e. application for disability, is that seventy percent of initial claims are turned down. There are many reasons as to why disability claims are overwhelmingly denied at the application level. Part of it may be due to the fact that most claimants are not represented by a disability lawyer until later, particularly after they have been denied at least once, and especially if their case is at the hearing level.

It can be argued that disability representation is not crucial at the earliest level of the system, but there are instances in which cases are won prior to the hearing level because they were represented by an individual who was intent on getting the case resolved without the need for a hearing.

However, the primary reasons behind the high denial rate for disability applications most likely has to do with the fact that the social security administration has a culture of denial that allows disability examiners (the individuals who decide claims at the first two levels of the system) to often ignore the opinion of a claimant's treating physician, even when that physician has sent in a detailed and objective statement which supports their patient's claim for disability.

In addition to this, disability examiners are subject to having their decisions reviewed by quality control units which tend to focus their reviews on cases that have been approved by examiners, not cases that have been denied by examiners. Thus, the effect on disability examiners is that they do not approve nearly as many claims as they deny, even including cases with excellent medical evidence to support them. Were this not the case, we would not see nearly so many cases denied by disability examiners and then later approved by judges at disability hearings.

At the second level of the system, the request for reconsideration appeal, only about 15 percent of cases are granted, meaning that approximately 85 percent of claims at this first appeal level are denied. The fact that an even higher percentage of cases are denied on the first appeal is not suprising when one considers the fact that the reconsideration process is identical to the disability application process and the only difference between the two levels is that they involve different disability examiners.

At the disability hearing level, a claimant will stand a forty percent chance of being approved if they are represented by a disability lawyer. The odds of approval even without representation are considerably greater than at the previous levels. However, individuals who are represented can increase the odds of approval by fifty percent greater than this. Claimants whose cases are prepared and presented by a disability lawyer have a win rate of better than sixty percent, according to federal statistics.

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

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?

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