Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a complex system that most people don’t understand very well. However, there are certain popular stories about social security that most people know. For example, many people have heard that applying for SSDI benefits can be a difficult and lengthy process.
You may have heard a story about someone who had to go to court and have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge to get benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though they had an extremely debilitating medical condition.
Is there any accuracy to those stories? How many people receive benefits after they appeal the original decision about their benefit claims?
How often are Social Security appeals successful?
SSDI benefit appeals are common, and they do have a noteworthy rate of success. In 2017, the most recent year with SSA appeal data available, about 23.2% of applicants received benefits after they applied. That means that more than three-quarters of the applicants for Social Security received denials instead of approvals.
Some of the applicants denied initially did eventually receive benefits. The first stage of appeal is reconsideration, which requires that another SSA employee review the application. About 7.1% of denied workers received benefits after a reconsideration. Another 37.5% of denied applicants obtained their benefits after a hearing or more advanced appeal effort.
The SSA breaks down its reasons for denials. The biggest one is a determination that a worker can do another kind of work, even if they can’t keep their current job. This issue causes 40.8% of denied benefits claims.
Thousands of people receive benefits upon appeal each year
Submitting a thorough and compelling SSDI application could help you get benefits more quickly, but receiving notice of a denial should not stop you from pursuing benefits. Applicants can expand on the information they provide during the appeal process and can even correct mistakes or oversights that affected the success of their initial application.
If you are successful in an appeal of denied benefits, you may receive not just future benefits but also backdated benefits to when you initially first applied or qualified. Understanding the SSDI appeals process can help you overcome a denial.