If you were denied disability, what are your chances of winning a Social Security appeal? It’s important to keep in mind that every case is different, and your odds will also vary depending on the stage of appeal. Below, we discuss some of the factors that your chances of winning depend on.
What Are Your Chances of Approval at Reconsideration?
If your initial application is denied, you may request a reconsideration of your disability benefits claim. This level of appeal sends your entire case back to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) Bureau, and a new person will then review your evidence.
Approximately 13 percent of the cases that are reconsidered by DDS are approved. That means the additional person reviews the case and reverses the original denial. The other 87 percent of cases are denied again.
Your best chances of winning a Social Security appeal at the reconsideration level are to update your file with recent medical records, as well as anything else it may have been missing previously.
What Are Your Chances of Approval at the Hearing Level?
Your next step in the appeals process will be to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). An ALJ will both review your case and listen to your testimony. You may also present testimony from other experts.
Around 47 percent of cases taken to an ALJ receive approval. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of receiving an approval. One study indicated that people who used a Social Security representative, such as a disability attorney, were three times more likely to receive an approval. An additional study showed that people were twice as likely to win at the hearing level if they had attorney representation.
What Are Your Chances of Approval at the Appeals Council?
If your appeal is denied at the hearing level, you may appeal it to the Social Security Appeals Council. The chances of winning a Social Security appeal at the Appeals Council level, however, is only 1 percent. Around 9 percent are then sent back to an ALJ hearing level. As many as 90 percent of cases at the Appeals Council level are denied or dismissed.
What Are Your Chances of Approval in Federal Court?
If your Social Security disability appeal is denied at all lower levels, then you can take your case to federal court. In federal court, you will essentially be suing the Social Security Administration and claiming that they made a significant error in denying your application for benefits. You only have a 2 percent chance of having a federal judge approval the appeal. However, around 50 percent of the cases in federal court return to the hearing level. The federal judge will direct an ALJ to review the case again to further consider your case.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Chances of Winning a Social Security Appeal?
Unfortunately, your chance of being approved on appeal aren’t great. However, here are some steps you can take to improve your chances of winning:
- Show that your condition has worsened over time;
- Provide Social Security with ongoing medical evidence;
- Update Social Security every time you see a doctor;
- Attend consultative medical exams requested by Social Security;
- Comply with any requests by Disability Determination Services; and
- Have a Social Security disability attorney represent you.
When people win on appeal, it is often because their condition has further deteriorated. This would be evidenced by the additional medical evidence that should be submitted every time you visit a doctor or medical clinic.
A Springfield IL Attorney Can Help Increase Your Chances of Winning a Social Security Appeal
Springfield IL disability attorney Donald J. Hanrahan understands what the ALJ and the Social Security Administration look for when reviewing appeal requests. Contact us today to find out how we can help you, and how we may be able to help you increase your chances of winning a Social Security appeal.