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What percent of SSDI claims are denied?

denied claims ssdi

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SSDI claims are denied often. This question is typically asked because a claimant wants to know, “What are my odds of winning?”. Prior to getting into the weeds about approval or denial percentages you should know that there are many things that go into making a determination as to whether or not someone meets Social Security’s definition of disability.

Medical records are by far and away the most important variable in determining whether or not a claimant is ‘disabled’ under the rules and regulations of the Administration. Medical records consist of things like your primary care physician’s notes, a specialist’s notes, imaging, opinions from your doctors and notes from a consultative examination (if the Administration sends you for one). These documents help a decision-maker more than anything else.

Ssdi claims denied

Age Helps Determine Disability

The second most important variable is your age. Individuals age 55 and over have a much greater approval rating than those under the age of 55. Individuals between the ages of 50 and 55 have a much greater approval rating than those under the age of 50. The main reason for this is the grid rules. Because of the grids, as you reach these higher age categories, it becomes easier and easier to be found disabled.

Other SSDI Case Variables

Another, and perhaps less obvious variable, is who you get to make the disability determination on your case. Some judges award more than others. To carry this thought even further, some locations are more favorable than others. For instance, it’s harder to be found disabled in Alaska than it is in California. You can find approval ratings by state, but it should be noted that some regions within states can vary greatly. Peoria, Illinois has a much worse approval rating than Chicago, Illinois.

All that being said, 74.4% of the people who apply for disability do not end up receiving benefits. This number is extremely deceiving though. The vast majority of claimants quit before they receive a final determination from the Administration.

PhaseTotal ApplicationsApprovedDeniedDenial Rate

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May 2, 2022

Written by TC Newlin

TC is a disability litigator and one of the managing partners in the Social Security Disability Department at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. He has had the pleasure of helping thousands of people obtain the benefits they so desperately need.


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