When an individual suffers a serious injury and is unable to earn a living, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be available. Although having an SSDI benefits application denied can be gut-wrenching, it happens frequently. Reportedly, over 65% of initial SSDI applications are denied. Most who are initially denied benefits can appeal the decision, but what are the odds of a successful appeal?
The Social Security Administration requires denied applicants to undergo a paper review of the initial decision before an appeal hearing, which is called a reconsideration. The reconsideration review is done by the state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) Bureau and not at Social Security. Generally, only about 13% of initially denied cases are reversed at this level.
The chances of a successful appeal will improve significantly when a denied applicant goes to an appeal hearing. Winning an appeal can depend on a number of factors. Here are a few examples:
- Has the condition worsened over time?
- Was the SSA notified of new medical evidence when the appeal was filed?
- Was the SSA notified of any recent medical visits?
To have the best chances at winning an appeal, always keep thorough and up-to-date medical records.
Legal representation improves the odds
At the hearing level, close to half of appeal hearings are won by disability claimants. However, being represented by an experienced disability lawyer can significantly raise one’s chances. A recent Social Security Administration study noted that individuals who brought legal representation to a hearing were about three times more likely to secure an approval. Those who have been initially denied SSDI benefits could benefit by speaking with an experienced attorney about the appeals process.