Follow us
  >  Legal Advice   >  What Are My Chances of Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal?
older man smiling after winning ssd appeal case

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

So you’ve gone through the entire social security application process and yet you’ve still been denied disability benefits. This is probably frustrating on a variety of levels because you may be in physical pain and are unable to work, which is putting your whole life on hold. You probably have a lot of questions, and while most people will tell you that one disability case is different from the next one, what do you do now? What can you do to increase your chances of winning on appeal? Are there individuals with similar impairment or symptoms who have eventually won on appeal?

In this blog, we’re outlining the different steps in the social security disability benefits appeal process and what your chances of winning are according to each step. 


The First Paper Review: A Reconsideration

After your claim is rejected, the first step in the post-rejection process is that the Social Security Administration makes you look through a paper review of their decision. This review is known as a reconsideration and takes place at the Disability Determination Services office in your state. 

At this stage of the post-rejection process, the chances of securing an appeal on reconsideration are very small, at about 13%. Very rarely does DDS take a look at a recently denied claim and reverse the decision. There would have to be something extremely significant to happen between your rejection and the reconsideration process. So when it comes to being at this level, don’t count on winning on appeal. 


Second Level: Hearing

As you see above, more than likely your case will not be appealed at the Reconsideration level. The good news is that the Hearing level is the level where you’ll see a bump in likelihood — up to 47%. The criteria and questions that help individuals succeed at this level include whether your impairment has worsened over time, recent medical visits to the doctor, whether you notified Social Security of new medical evidence for your appeal, and whether you complied with what DDS suggested of you. Staying in touch with the DDS professional is another way to increase your likelihood of winning an appeal, as you will be able to update them on your condition and whether things have changed. 

Sadly, another reason why applicants are more likely to be approved at the hearing level is because their injury or impairment has made them physically or mentally deteriorate, which makes the need for disability benefits all the more clear. 

47% is much better than 13%, but what’s a good way to raise this number even higher? Hire a social security disability attorney. Doing so will increase your likelihood of appeal significantly, nearly three times as likely, as opposed to not having an attorney. There are many reasons to hire an attorney, but the bottom line is that these professionals deal with these cases all the time and will know the nuances of specific claims and maybe even what judges lean toward in their decision. Plus, typically these attorneys only get money when you get money, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. 


Client winning a disability appeal during online court hearing

Third Level: Appeals Council

Of all the levels, the Appeals Council is the one you’re least likely to appeal at, as it stands at 1%. At this level, 9% get sent back to the Hearing level and the rest are completely denied. The only reason why applicants appeal to this level is because it’s the step before the federal court level. 


Fourth Level: Federal Court

Appealing at the Federal Court level is just oh-so slightly better than the Appeals Council level — 2%. The good news here is that judges send nearly 50% of the disability cases they hear back to the Hearing level, where applicants are more likely to be approved. 


Bottom Line

There are many factors that go into a disability benefits appeal decision. What’s important is that you stay up-to-date and in-the-know on what to expect and plan for the worst—while hoping for the best of course. The best way to go about getting an appeal is to hire an attorney to represent you in your SSI case. It will not only give you a peace of mind, but these professionals know what they are doing, since it’s something they do every day. Think about it: You’d want a doctor to take care of your medical impairment, because that’s what they are trained to do. Don’t you want an attorney to properly represent you in your disability case, since that’s what they are trained to do?  


More Information

Are you in need of someone to help you through the SSDI benefits process? Are you trying to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or an injury or illness? Then contact Lowery Law Group at info@lowerylegal.com or call (843) 991-0733. There is no fee for a free consultation regarding your claim. Lowery Law Group is experienced in handling cases in South Carolina as well as Georgia.