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  • Writer's pictureVicki Corr

"Understanding the Social Security Disability Approval Process: Why Persistence is Key"

A person receiving a several denials and then approved

Are you worried about your chances of getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits? The approval rates might seem discouraging, but it's crucial to understand the process and why persistence is key.

Three Key Stages of Applying

  1. Initial Application: This is your first shot at getting benefits. Currently, around 37% of initial applications get approved. While this might seem low, remember that many applications are incomplete or don't have sufficient medical support.

  2. Reconsideration: Denied initially? Don't despair! Requesting a reconsideration gives you a second chance. While only about 15% of reconsiderations are successful, this step is often where people win their cases with stronger evidence or by addressing errors in their initial application.

  3. Hearing: Reconsideration denied? It's all part of the endurance race. If you have gotten this far, request a hearing before an ALJ. This step is where you finally get to talk to someone about your medical issues and how they impact your life. Each ALJ has a specific percentage of awards vs denials. The range is significant, from about 28% to 91%. Only after a case is assigned to a Judge can you determine the approval rate for your specific hearing. The average approval rate is around 54% across the country.

Why the Low Approval Rates?

  • Strict Criteria: Social Security Disability has very specific definitions of what qualifies as a disability. You must prove you cannot work ANY job, not just your previous job.

  • Incomplete Applications: Many people apply without a complete understanding of the requirements or without enough medical evidence to support their claim.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Odds?

  • Get Organized: Gather extensive medical records, work history details, and any documentation about your limitations.

  • Consult Experts: An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer or advocate can be invaluable in guiding you.

  • Be Persistent: Don't give up after an initial denial! Often, success comes after reconsideration or even later stages of appeal.

Important Note: Approval rates are just statistics. Your case and the quality of your application matter most. Having the right attorney on your side also greatly improves your odds of getting benefits. Having the right attorney at any point in the process can greatly improve your odds of getting benefits. At ManleyReynolds, we do everything possible to get your monthly benefits quickly.

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2024 COLA updates

For the 2024 Cost of Living Adjustment, those on Disability will see an increase of 3.2%. For those looking to file for Disability benefits, the maximum monthly income before taxes will be $1,550.00.


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