What Are My Chances of Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal?

Your chances of winning an appeal depend on your medical condition, but here are the averages.

Since every disability case is different, there's really no way to know what your chances will be when you file an appeal, other than the fact that your chances will generally improve. Most states have a review of the initial decision on paper before an appeal hearing; that first paper review is called a reconsideration.

On average, the approval chances on appeals are as follows:

  • at the reconsideration level, 85% of reconsiderations get denied, and
  • at the hearing level, nationally, more than half of all ALJ hearings are won by disability claimants,

And being represented by a disability lawyer at the hearing level can raise your chances to 60%.

The chances of winning on appeal can depend 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 call the disability examiner to update the examiner regarding recent medical visits?
  • 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?

The chances of winning a disability appeal depend on so many factors that it's really impossible to predict. The best way to improve your chances is to stay on top of things by staying in touch with the disability examiner assigned to your case and by keeping all parties involved updated on your situation. Learn more about how to improve your chances of winning disability benefits at a hearing.

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