Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits help provide baseline financial support for individuals with disabling medical conditions who are not yet old enough to retire. Those who have previously worked and are no longer able to do so can apply for SSDI benefits to replace lost wages when they cannot work due to health issues.
Applicants seeking SSDI benefits need medical evidence affirming the severity of their conditions and will have to execute complicated paperwork to get benefits. Unfortunately, many SSDI applicants with no other means of supporting themselves receive a denial letter telling them that they do not qualify for SSDI. There is an appeals process available with multiple stages of appeal possible, and the process takes months to complete, in most cases. Is an applicant likely to achieve success during the appeals process?
Appeals are more common than people realize
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides records of the outcome of disability benefits claims, and the majority of people who apply do not get benefits. At least when looking at the outcomes between 2010 and 2019, only 21% of applicants, on average, received approval when they first applied for benefits.
However, the final approval rate averaged 31%, which means that another 10% of applicants got benefits during the appeals process. Appeals play a major role in getting people SSDI benefits. Overall, just slightly less than one in three approved SDDI benefits applications involved an appeal. Not only does an appeal potentially mean someone will qualify for benefits when they otherwise would have no support, but they may also receive backdated benefits in a lump sum after a successful appeal.
People often need help with the appeals process
Many rejected applicants seeking SSDI benefits initially made some kind of mistake in their paperwork or failed to provide the level of documentation that the SSA requires. Those that need to appeal often feel more comfortable moving forward with the support of a lawyer familiar with SSDI claims. An attorney can handle the paperwork and help gather the documentation necessary to succeed during the appeals process.
Understanding how useful appeals are for applicants may help someone overcome their discouragement after a denied SSDI claim and inspire them to seek legal guidance so that they can keep fighting for benefits.