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

What are the chances of winning at a disability hearing in Pennsylvania?

This is a fairly common question and a very logical one if you consider this one fact. In some parts of the country, it can take as long as a year to get to a hearing. And, in many parts of the country, it can take over two years. Obviously, waiting such a long time can exact a huge financial toll on a person. Obviously, as well, a claimant who "toughs it out" wants to win when their hearing actually occurs.

However, back to the question--what are the likely chances of winning a case at a disability hearing for SSD or SSI benefits? In actuality, there are several different ways to answer the question.

First of all, on average, a person who files for Social Security Disability or SSI in Pennsylvania and gets denied on an initial claim will generally have a better chance of being approved later if they file appeals instead of filing a brand new application.


1. Disability Criteria - Eligibility For SSD, SSI
2. Winning at a disability hearing
3. What SSD, SSI cases win benefits?
4. How to win disability

Why is this? Because claimants who get denied initially have their best chance of winning later on if they appear at a hearing. However, you cannot get to a hearing if you do not follow the SSA appeal system.

Now, what are the actual chances of winning ssd or ssi benefits at a hearing? Just as with initial claims and reconsideration appeals (the second step in the process---the hearing is the third step), the statistics for approvals and denials vary by state.

However, roughly fifty percent of all claimants who show up at social security hearings are approved. Considering that these same individuals were denied twice before (on the application and on the first appeal) those really aren't bad odds at all.

But the odds of winning at a hearing are even better for older individuals. Those in their fifties will often do better because the grid, a framework of rules that govern certain decisions on disability claims, favors older individuals. The grid takes into account the fact that fewer jobs are available to people who are older. It also takes into account the fact that it increasingly becomes harder to find new and different types of work.

And, of course, it should be said that claimants with representation will typically fare better than claimants who show up at hearings unrepresented. By some accounts, the chances of winning with representation may be 50 percent higher.

Why do claimants show up at Social security hearings without representation? I'd like to say I haven't a clue because it is distressing that so many individuals think this is a wise course of action (if I had waited up to 2 years to get to a hearing, I wouldn't take my chances in front of a disability judge by going it alone, it simply wouldn't be worth the risk). However, I know for a fact that some Social Security Disability and ssi disability claimants try to proceed unrepresented because they think they either

1. understand the disability system well enough to win their claim or

2. would rather not fork over 21% of their backpay to an attorney or non-attorney representative.

So, be it. But the saying "he who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer" is, in my opinion, a wise aphorism.

*If you'll notice, everytime a lawyer of some note gets in trouble with the law, he doesn't rely on his own expertise to represent himself. He gets another lawyer, despite the fact that he himself is a lawyer, to represent him. And quite frankly, in many cases it may not have anything to do with the competence of the unrepresented claimant. It may have more to do with the perceptions of the judge. But disability cases as much as I hate to say it are a subjective process and not objective.

Because if the process was truly objective, then judges would not be approving so many claimants who had, previously, been turned down by a disability examiner on an initial 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

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Filing for disability in Pennsylvania

Applying for disability in Pennsylvania

Filing for disability or SSI in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania SSI disability benefits

Qualifying, will I qualify for disability in Pennsylvania?

Social Security Disability SSI and being permanently disabled in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania disability claim staus

Why a disability case in Pennsylvania takes so long

Disability decisions and denials in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Social Security Disability SSI decisions

If you get denied for disability in Pennsylvania

After being denied for disability in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania disability appeals and hearings

Filing a disability appeal in Pennsylvania

Chances of winning disability on an appeal in Pennsylvania?

How can you improve the chance of winning disability in Pennsylvania?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in Pennsylvania?

Winning a disability hearing in Pennsylvania

Hiring a disability lawyer in Pennsylvania

Getting a disability lawyer in Pennsylvania

How will a Pennsylvania disability lawyer help my claim?

The cost to hire a disability attorney in Pennsylvania

When should you get a disability attorney in Pennsylvania?

How can a Pennsylvania disability lawyer win a disability case?

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.