Social Disability Lawyer Blog

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What are my chances of winning a Social Security Appeal?

The chances of winning a disability appeal after you've been rejected by the SSA, depends solely on your medical condition and if required, your disability attorney.

Since each disability case is different, approval at a disability hearing doesn't mean that you have the same chance of getting benefits when you file an appeal. But we can bet on this, your chances will drastically improve if you do decide to have a disability re-appeal in the first place. Here are some of the factors that can affect the disability decision in or against your favor.

The approval chances on reconsideration are usually around 15%

Being represented by a disability attorney, your chances of winning disability benefits at hearing level increases up to 75%.


Most of the states review your disability case on paper before passing it on to an actual disability hearing. The first paper review before the ALJ hearing is called 'reconsideration'. The reconsideration takes place at your state's Disability Determination Services (DDS) bureau or by an administrative law judge in SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, not the Social Security Administration's office.

On average, the approval chances on reconsideration are usually around 15%. However, having your disability reviewed by a disability attorney increases the odds of approval in reconsideration up to 60%. However, if you do not file the request for reconsideration within 60 days, then you have to start the initial process of filing for disability benefits all over again, which again reduces your chances of approving the benefits at all. This is why that only 15% of the cases were approved after reconsideration among all of the cases that were denied. The rest were denied again.

You can greatly improve your chances of winning at reconsideration making sure that your doctor fully supports your disability case and your DDS has all of your recent medical records.

Hearing Level

At hearing level only 47% of the claimants, on average, have the chances of winning their disability benefits. However, being represented by a disability attorney, your chances of winning disability benefits at hearing level increases up to 75%. This is because at the hearing level, the rules of the game do change! The ALJ judge may now listen to actual testimonials of your physician or doctor, coworker and bosses to analyze your case. A disability attorney may better be able to provide the facts to the ALJ and guide the testimonial persons properly.

The chances of winning an appeal for disability benefits depends on a variety of factors. For instance:

  • Has your condition worsened over time?
  • Did you notify Social Security of new medical evidence when the appeal paperwork was filed?
  • Did you have recent medical visits at the doctor and did you update Social Security?
  • Did you provide the required evidence intellectually and honestly?
  • Did you comply with requests issued by Disability Determination Services or an Administrative Law Judge (such as going to a consultative medical exam that was scheduled)?
  • Did you go to an ALJ hearing unrepresented by a lawyer?
  • Did you follow the time guidelines properly?

Another reason why the odds of winning claims at a hearing improve are because the hearings take a long time to happen, typically between one to two years and by that time, the mental and physical conditions of the claimants have deteriorated further, thus making their disability case stronger.

However, since the chances of winning a claim at hearing depends on so many factors, one cannot be 100% sure of winning the claims. Thus, the best way forward to is to be prepared and to stay on top of things by having frequent visits with your disability examiner and making sure that you have gathered all the medical and physical evidence to provide to the ALJ in the hearing.

Appeals Council

Although there is no sure fire way to win your disability claim at appeals, you can however, take some precautions to be on the safe side. To be prepared, you have to make sure you file the appeal within 60 days of your hearing. If you fail to do so, you may have to start the disability filing process again. Also, make sure you have written a thorough explanation of your disability in the Appeals letter. Another important step is to make sure you have a supportive opinion of your disability doctor or physician for your disability claims; however make sure that you're completely honest in the process. The ALJ has been doing it for decades and can see through any missing transparencies that you try to fake or cover up.

Federal Court

Since only 1% of the appeals in the appeals council win their claims, and another 9% are referred back to the ALJ hearing to see if there could be a different merit to the disability claims, the rest 90% of the appeals are denied.

Hence the last step is to take your appeal to the federal court. The chances of winning an appeal in the federal court are only 2%, but if you are wronged and have proper evidence and the required conditions by the SSA are fulfilled, then you stand a better chance at winning at the federal court.

A disability attorney may better be able to guide you in your appeal process whether it be a reconsideration, appeals process or a case to the federal court.

The chances of winning a disability appeal increase up to 60% if you are represented by a disability attorney

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Monday, 13 July 2020