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How often do applicants win during SSDI appeals?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Disability Appeals |

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a difficult process. Many people need assistance. The paperwork is complex. Also, they may struggle to understand the level of evidence necessary to convince the Social Security Administration (SSA). that they qualify.

Particularly in cases where people handle their initial applications independently, they may be at risk of a denied claim. At that point, their two best options are either to reapply or to appeal. Given that it can take months to secure a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, many people contemplate reapplying instead of appealing.

Is pursuing an appeal worthwhile based on the number of people approved?

Appeals help many applicants get benefits

The SSA actually tracks the outcome of applications and reports them to the general public. This effort at transparency can show people what to expect when they file a claim. When looking at the application submitted between 2010 and 2019, it is easy to see that only a minority received initial approval. A small but significant percentage of applicants do receive their benefits during the appeals process.

The average approval rate during those years was 21% during the initial application stage. Then, another 10% of applicants obtained benefits through the appeals process. Although each year is slightly different, the hearing stage is often the most successful part of the appeals process.

Reconsideration is the first stage of appeal, and roughly 2% of people get their benefits through reconsideration. Another 8% successfully convince an administrative law judge that they should qualify for benefits. Overall, 10% of applicants each year obtain benefits through an appeal.

Backdated benefits can be helpful

The appeals process is beneficial for more reasons than just an increased chance of success. The decision to reapply means that someone loses out on many months of SSDI benefits. If an appeal is successful, the applicant can receive backdated benefits. Those benefits extend from when they first qualified to when they finally prevail during the appeals process. Receiving a lump-sum payment for backdated benefits could help those struggling to make ends meet because they cannot work.

Understanding the positive impact that an SSDI appeal could have might help people commit to the process. Applicants who secure assistance with their initial paperwork or their appeals tend to significantly improve their chances of success.