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Social Security Disability: What are my chances of getting benefits? How can I improve my odds of su

This is an easy question with a confusing answer. The answer is confusing since there are three levels of administration that can grant benefits along with two levels of appeals. So, let’s look at each level individually and then look at the overall picture. This information is based on Fiscal Year 2021 data.

The first level of approval is called the Initial-level and 36% of all applicants that applied at the Initial-level were approved.

The second level of approval is called the Reconsideration-level and 13% of all the applicants that appealed their Initial-level denial were approved.

The third level of approval is the Hearing-level. This is where you see an Administrative Law Judge to decide your case. A total of 51% of all the applicants that appealed their Reconsideration-level denial were approved.

If you are unsuccessful at the Hearing-level, the next step is to appeal the Judge’s decision to the Appeals Council. Of the applicants that appealed a Hearing-level denial to the Appeals Council only 1% are approved for disability benefits. Another 11% of cases are remanded to the Administrative Law Judge that heard the matter in the first place to reconsider their decision based upon suggestions given to the Judge by the Appeals Council.

The Final stage of the appeal process is filing a lawsuit in Federal Court. Of the applicants that appeal their denial to Federal Court only 1% are approved but 59% are remanded back to Social Security with instructions as to why the Federal Court thought Social Security needed to review the denial.

Wow, that was a lot of numbers! But we need to look at how many people went forward after each level of denial. Of the 1,243,890 people who were denied at the Initial-level, only 503,669 appealed their denial to the Reconsideration-level which is 40%. Of the 438,192 people who were denied at the Reconsideration level, 301,378 appealed their denial to the Hearing level which is 69%.

So, what can you do to increase your odds of success? The first thing to do is to always appeal any denial all the way up to the hearing level. If you do not appeal your denial, then you have no chance of getting approved. The second, and best thing that you can do to improve your chances of success is to get help! By hiring a representative to guide you along the way prior to filing at the Initial-level. Hiring a professional to represent you in front of the full Social Security Administration process is the best way to increase your chances of success. Additionally, Social Security sets the fees of representatives. There are no payments of fees to the representative up front and they are only paid if you are successful. So, there is no risk of paying representative fees if you are ultimately denied, except for possible medical records or other costs.

If you have questions regarding Social Security Disability, please visit our website,

Call us at (423)-771-HELP or (423)-771-4357.

We help people all over the Southeast. Claim your benefits. Claim your life!

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