Social Security Disability Denial Rates or What are my chances to win SSDI or SSI?

This page will list the approval rates for SSDI and SSI disability at application and reconsideration for each state. You can also determine the denial rate from these numbers. I listed below the average winning percentages for each state and the individual local offices averages may be different. At the very bottom of the page, you will find the percentage of cases that win and lose at all stages nationally for the year 2008. I have also just added the average winning and losing percentages nationally for the year 2010 for all stages of the process. 

I am including this information in the website because I am frequently asked if everyone is denied when they first apply and what are my chances of winning?  When looking at the statistics on keep in mind that these are averages and every case is different the approval and denial rates may not be indicative of your local SSA office.  In my experience, I find that those that win at the early stages are fully developed files that show an individual meets a listing or is disabled under the GRID rules.  In fact, 58% of SSD or SSI claims that won did so by meeting or equaling the listing of impairments.  This is why I feel it is important to have a lawyer for ssdi or ssi as early in the process as possible.  If you leave the development of your file up to SSA you will certainly decrease your chances of winning at these early stages of the process.  If you decide not to get a lawyer you must do everything you can to get all your medical records in and make sure you understand how SSA will determine if you are disabled.


If you need help call me at 1-877-527-5529.

Percentage of Disability Cases Lost and Won in 2010

Update for fiscal year 2010 on disability winning percentages (approval rates) and losing percentages (denial rates) for Social Security disability and SSI decisions completed in 2010. At application, despite what you might of heard, not all cases are denied. In fact, 35% of the applications decided in 2010 won. The denial rate at application nationally is quite high at 65%, but I believe one big reason for this is that many people do not get representation until they have been denied. I also believe many lawyers are partly to blame for this since it is very common for someone looking for a lawyer at application for their SSDI or SSI claim to be told to "apply and call back when you are denied". Some lawyers do this because an attorney's fee is based on past due benefits and if the lawyer wins a case at application they feel the fee does not cover the work involved in handling a case at this level. I strongly disagree with this approach, because I feel it is very important that the case be handled properly from the beginning, not only to assure you have the best chance to win at application, but also to ensure that an application that was not properly done does not come back to haunt you at a later stage in the process. If you are in a state that has reconsideration, the winning percentage at this stage is only 13% with a denial rate of 87% nationally. It is my belief that the extremely low winning percentage at reconsideration is due to the fact that many times very little is done to improve the claim between application and reconsideration. I also believe, that some SSA employees find it easier to rubber-stamp previous decision rather than to change what was already decided. The highest winning percentage is at the hearinglevel which nationally has a winning percentage of 62%, with 25% losing, and the remaining 13% dismissed for one reason or another. I believe and Social Security studies have shown that one reason for this is that more claimants are represented at the hearing level then the earlier stages of the Social Security Disability Process. It is also my opinion, that for the first time a claimant has an opportunity to tell his or her story to someone in person, and it puts a face on all the paperwork. Keep in mind, these winning and losing percentages are national averages and some ALJ's have a much higher percentage of cases approved, while other ALJ's have a much lower percentage of cases approved than the national average. Many cases that are denied at the hearing level appeal to the Appeals Council. Most cases at the Appeals Council are denied at a 74% rate. Almost a quarter of the cases are remanded or approved. A remand is when the case is sent back to the administrative law judge (in most cases the same administrative law judge) and the Remand percentage rate for 2010 was 22%. Only 2% of the cases at the Appeals Council were completely reversed and won. The last 2% were dismissed for one reason or another. Of the 83,000 cases appealed to the Appeals Council 12,000 cases were taken to Federal Court. At the Federal Court level also called US District Court, there is a pretty even split. 40% of the cases taken to federal court were denied. 47% of the cases taken to Federal Court were remanded and 4% were approved out right. 9% of cases were dismissed. Keep in mind these are the national average for cases decided in 2010 and although it gives you a good picture these numbers may differ from year to year and depending upon where your case being decided and by which particular decision maker or ALJ.

Percentage of Disability Claims That Win at Application and Reconsideration.

Below you will find the allowance rates (winning percentage) at the application and reconsideration level for each state. The statistics are for the fiscal year 2008 and include SSD and SSI cases. You will find the name of the state followed by the percentage of cases that won at application and the second number is the percentage of cases that won at reconsideration. Many states no longer have the reconsideration stage and in these states your claim goes directly from application to hearing if you lose at application and appeal.  These individual state percentages of cases won and lost at application and reconsideration tend to fluctuate quite a bit and as you will see, if you read the whole page, a better indicator of your statistical chances at each stage of the Social Security Disability process may be to consider the national averages instead of the individual states.  I will soon post the individual state statistics on winning and losing at these stages for the year 2010 when they become available to see if my assumption, that the national average statistics is a better indicator of your chance to win at each stage then the local win and lose percentages is.

The numbers below are the percentage of Social Security Disability and SSI cases that won.  The first number is approval rates at application and the second number is approval rates at reconsideration.

1. National 36.0 and 13.8
2. Iowa  32.4 and 12.2
3. Kansas 36.0 and 16.2
4. Missouri 33.6 and 28.3
5. Nebraska 37.3 and 12.0
6. Colorado 34.9 and 21.5
7. Montana 41.6 and 14.6
8. North Dakota 38.2 and 12.7
9. South Dakota 35.8 and 11.6
10. Utah 44.3 and 15.6
11. Wyoming 48.0 and 10.4
12. Arizona 36.9 and 20.0
13. California 39.0 and 12.9
14. Hawaii 52.6 and 25.2
15. Nevada 42.7 and 22.6
16. Arkansas 42.9 and 28.0
17. Idaho 39.2 and 10.4
18. Oregon 37.4 and 13.2
19. Washington 39.7 and 10.7
20. Connecticut 33.1 and 14.7
21. Massachusetts 45.7 and 29.0
22. Maine 35.7 and 15.5
23. New Hampshire 51.9 and 36.4
24. Rhode Island 38.2 and 18.2
25. Vermont 48.1 and 15.9
26. New Jersey 45.0 and 20.8
27. New York 44.3 and 51.2
28. Puerto Rico 43.7 and 28.1
29. Delaware 44.5 and 15.0
30. District of Columbia 44.6 and 22.1
31. Maryland 37.6 and 20.0
32. Pennsylvania 36.7 and 27.9
33. Virginia 39.6 and 14.3
34. West Virginia 26.4 and 10.2
35. Alabama 31.8 and 22.3
36. Florida 33.6 and 14.0
37. Georgia 24.9 and 10.3
38. Kentucky 28.8 and 7.7
39. Mississippi 24.5 and 6.9
40. North Carolina 30.9 and 13.2
41. South Carolina 31.1 and 15.3
42. Tennessee 25.1 and 8.7
43. Illinois 35.6 and 14.1
44. Indiana 36.2 and 6.8
45. Michigan 30.2 and 27.7
46. Minnesota 37.4 and 12.4
47. Ohio 27.1 and 10.5
48. Wisconsin 40.3 and 17.8
49. Arkansas 36.1 and 11.1
50. Louisiana 36.6 and 25.7
51. New Mexico 36.4 and 13.2
52. Oklahoma 39.7 and 14.6
53. Texas 42.5 and 20.1

Below is a look at the winning and losing percentages at application and reconsideration for the Fiscal Year 2006.  I am leaving these numbers so you can compare them to the 2008 percentages of cases that won to see how the percentages change from year to year.



Initial and Reconsideration Adjudicative Levels

Allowance and Denial Rates by State

TOTAL- Title II, Title XVI, & Concurrent

                                                Initial Level                                           Recon Level

                                    Allow Rate %       Denial Rate %          Allow Rate %       Denial Rate %

NATION                          35.2                        64.8                      13.2                        86.8

AK                                   42.9                        57.1                      31.3                        68.8

AL                                    28.2                        71.8                      26.8                        73.2

AR                                    32.2                        67.8                      12.0                        88.0

AZ                                    40.2                        59.8                      29.7                        70.3

CA                                    43.4                        56.6                      16.2                        83.8

CO                                   30.5                        69.5                      17.0                        83.0

CT                                    36.7                        63.3                      15.7                        84.3

DC                                    53.7                        46.3                      36.2                        63.8

DE                                    47.9                        52.1                      17.1                        82.9

FL                                     33.7                        66.3                      14.2                        85.8

GA                                    25.0                        75.0                      11.0                        89.0

HI                                     53.2                        46.8                      36.6                        63.4

IA                                     31.1                        68.9                      11.7                        88.3

ID                                     38.1                        61.9                        9.1                        90.9

IL                                      32.9                        67.1                        9.9                        90.1

IN                                     31.0                        69.0                        6.9                        93.1

KS                                    28.2                        71.8                      10.8                        89.2

KY                                   30.1                        69.9                        9.3                        90.7

LA                                    36.1                        63.9                      27.3                        72.7

MA                                   45.1                        54.9                      28.0                        72.0

MD                                   33.8                        66.2                      14.4                        85.6

ME                                   37.6                        62.4                      17.9                        82.1

MI                                   29.0                        71.0                      26.5                        73.5

MN                                   40.5                        59.5                      14.8                        85.2

MO                                   29.8                        70.2                      24.2                        75.8

MS                                   25.1                        74.9                        6.1                        93.9

MT                                   36.5                        63.5                      14.8                        85.2

NC                                   29.8                        70.2                      10.9                        89.1

ND                                   38.6                        61.4                      10.7                        89.3

NE                                    32.7                        67.3                        9.6                        90.4

NH                                   58.7                        41.3                      37.8                        62.2

NJ                                     46.6                        53.4                      20.2                        79.8

NM                                  40.6                        59.4                      14.6                        85.4

NV                                   48.4                        51.6                      28.9                        71.1

NY                                   43.0                        57.0                      17.8                        82.2

OH                                   26.6                        73.4                      10.9                        89.1

OK                                  36.4                        63.6                      15.5                        84.5

OR                                    29.6                        70.4                        9.0                        91.0

PA                                    40.8                        59.2                      33.2                        66.8

PR                                    36.0                        64.0                      18.7                        81.3

RI                                     42.8                        57.2                      17.4                        82.6

SC                                    23.3                        76.7                        8.6                        91.4

SD                                    33.1                        66.9                      12.4                        87.6

TN                                    22.8                        77.2                        6.4                        93.6

TX                                    38.7                        61.3                      18.1                        81.9

UT                                    35.3                        64.7                      11.6                        88.4

VA                                    44.4                        55.6                      15.5                        84.5

VT                                    49.5                        50.5                      17.1                        82.9

WA                                   38.4                        61.6                      12.2                        87.8

WI                                    33.5                        66.5                      13.5                        86.5

WV                                   29.5                        70.5                      11.1                        88.9

WY                                   40.9                        59.1                      11.7                        88.3


The statistics above can be a little depressing if you are applying for SSDI or SSI.  Remember winning percentages and denial rates do not tell the whole story and every case is different. Those who are committed to winning their claim should become knowledgeable about the law or get a lawyer to help them and this should increase their odds.  The following page is a good place to start for more information on Social Security Disability

Won and Lost at Application, Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council, and USDCT 

To give you an overall picture of the percentage of cases that win or lose at different stages of the process I've included the national statistics for decisions processed in the year 2008 by the office of Disability Program Management Information.

Nationally at application the allowance rate was 36% and the denial rate was 64%. At reconsideration 14% of the cases one and 86% lost. At the hearing level the winning percentage was 63% with a 16% dismissal rate and 21% denial rate. At the appeals Council the allowance rate was 2%, another 2% were dismissed, 22% were remanded for a new hearing and 73% lost. At the federal court level there was a 5% allowance rate, 8% were dismissed, 47% were remanded for a new hearing and 40% were denied.  If you look at the 2010 statistics you will see that even though the national average changes slightly from year to year they have remained fairly consistent.  In fact, the national average of SSDI and SSI cases that won and lost at each step of the process for the year 2008 are almost statistically identical to the national average of Social Security disability and SSI cases that one and lost in the year 2010.  So although the individual states approval and denial rates tend to fluctuate quite a bit, the overall national average seems to stay consistent and Ithink seems to be a better indicator of what your statistical chances of winning and losing are at each step in the SSD process. 

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Kazmierczak & Kazmierczak, LLP. All rights reserved.
If you are applying or you have been denied call us we are Social Security Disability Lawyers that can help at 1-877-527-5529.