All Disability. All The Time.

Why is it harder to get SSDI in some states than others?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Qualifying for disability benefits |

The application for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is the same no matter where you file it – and the definition the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses for “disability” is always the same, so why do approval rates vary so much from state to state?

Approval rates for initial SSDI claims, when averaged across the nation, stood at a mere 35% in 2022. However, per 2020 figures, if you file your claim in Oklahoma, your odds of approval go down to 33.4% – while they soar to 69.7% in Kansas. (Indiana is somewhere in the middle.)

Several different factors may be in play

Once the medical portion of your claim is sent to the state Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a decision, the following can affect your odds of approval:

  • Demographics: Different states have populations with varying ages, health conditions, educational backgrounds and employment histories – and all of these can affect both the number of claims that are filed and the evaluation process. Older workers with less education, for example, have an easier time being approved for benefits than younger, highly educated workers.
  • Access to medical care: Every disability claim rests on the medical evidence that is presented, but not all areas have equal access to the same resources. If you live in an area where there are limited medical choices, you may not have the documentation you need to support your claim.
  • Cultural and social factors: Human beings make these decisions, and they can be influenced by various cultural, social and even political attitudes toward work, disability and government assistance.

It’s ultimately important to remember that the decision on the medical portion of your application can be very subjective – unless you happen to exactly meet the very narrow definition of disability with a specific condition as described in SSA’s “Listing of Impairments.” Denials are common, and many of them are unfair.

If you’re struggling to get an SSDI claim approved, there is help available on appeal. By seeing legal guidance, you can learn more about what it takes to present information in support of your claim in just the way that it needs to be seen.