Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides a critical financial safety net for those who suffer injuries or develop disabling medical conditions that leave them unable to maintain gainful employment or perform the tasks of caring for themselves.
Unfortunately, many people who might have valid claims for SSDI benefits may find that their application winds up denied, meaning they initially do not qualify. However, quite a few of the people who receive an initial denial of benefits can appeal and eventually secure benefits.
If you are about to submit an application for SSDI benefits or have just received a denial, you likely want to know what your chances are of approval and if denied, your chances of success during an appeal. Thankfully, there are federal statistics that make it clear that an appeal is often worthwhile.
Only a fraction of applicants receive initial approval for their benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides an annual review of applications and approvals that they release with some analysis of statistics at the end of a decade. The most recent reporting era ended in 2010, which means that there will soon be fresher statistics regarding denials and approvals.
Still, the currently available statistics paint a pretty specific picture. Although 45% of applicants eventually wind up getting benefits, which means that 55% of all applicants wind up denied, quite a few of those people who get benefits don’t get approved right away.
According to statistics provided by the SSA itself, only 28% of applicants receive initial approval for their benefits. That approval rate goes up to 45% after appeals, which means that 17% of initial applicants secure their benefits during an appeal of an initial denial. In other words, if you received a denial, you have a fighting chance of securing benefits when you appeal that decision.
Although there can be hardship and frustration that stem from the need to keep waiting for benefits at a time when you can’t work, if your appeal is successful, you will generally be able to seek back pay through the date of your application, which can help you resolve the financial issues that arise in the interim.