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How likely is an SSDI appeal to result in a benefits award?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Although everyone contributes to the Social Security program when they work, not everyone uses Social Security benefits. Some people die before they reach retirement age. Others have enough in personal savings that they do not require Social Security retirement benefits later in life. A small but noteworthy portion of those who work never make a Social Security benefits claim. Some people actually require more benefits than others.

A small subset of the population might make a claim for benefits well before they reach retirement age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers not just retirement benefits but also disability benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program helps those who have worked but can no longer do so because of a medical condition.

Many applicants do not receive approval for benefits when they apply initially. Is appealing an unfavorable decision worthwhile?

Many applicants get benefits after appealing

The SSA provides data to the public about approval rates and other key application processing details, such as wait times for hearings in front of administrative law judges. The SSA reports that only about 21% of applicants receive benefits when they initially apply based on data from between 2010 and 2019.

A significant portion of those who do not receive benefits might decide to file an appeal. Doing so can require months of effort and the support of a lawyer. However, a noteworthy percentage of those who appeal do eventually get the benefits they require. The SSA reports that 10% of applicants overall receive benefits during the appeals process.

The reconsideration stage leads to another 2% of applicants receiving benefits. Roughly 8% of those approved for benefits receive them through a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Roughly one in three of those approved for benefits receive approval during the appeals process. As if that increased likelihood of securing benefits wasn’t reason enough to appeal an unfavorable decision, the possibility of securing backdated benefits upon approval might convince people to take action.

Learning more about what transpires during the SSDI application process may benefit those who are concerned about supporting themselves when they cannot work due to medical issues. Applicants who understand the outcomes that other people have experienced may feel more comfortable applying (and appealing, if necessary) to get the SSDI benefits they require and deserve.


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