Back in 2017, I wrote a blog regarding the percentages for Claimant’s with and without a representative. That was based on data provided by the Social Security Administration. This year, the Social Security Administration updated those numbers to reflect all cases from 2011-2018 for data on representation and award rates at the hearing level only.
This information is crucial, as I hear this question a lot in talking with Social Security Disability clients. “What are my chances?” Each person who files for disability usually feels they are unable to work, hence the reason they are filing for disability. Social Security bases the decision of disability on each person’s alleged impairments, medical treatment they receive, and the doctor’s opinions regarding their condition.
When you file a claim, the typical wait time for an initial determination is approximately 90 days. This decision is made by DDS examiners based on the medical evidence they receive during that time frame, any doctor’s opinions, whether your own or from an examining source, and the function reports you supplied when filing for disability. The next stage is reconsideration which adds another 60-90 day wait time for a decision. If you are denied at those first two stages, you then request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The approval rate at the hearing level is much greater, usually because the Judges are more thorough in their evaluation of the case. Additionally, most Claimants seek representation at this level.
The data shows that the number of favorable determinations in any type of claim has gone down considerably since 2011, even for represented Claimants, from 68.6% (2011) to 50.7% (2018) for Title II Disabled Claimants. However, if you are not represented then your chances for a favorable determination is only 12.9% in 2018. For SSI, Title XVI claims a represented individual was approved at 39.9% in 2018, while an unrepresented Claimant was only approved at 11.6%. For concurrent SSI and Title II claims, a represented Claimant had an approval rating of 42.3% while an unrepresented Claimant had a staggering only 8.5% approval rating.
In sum, your chances of getting approved without having a representative are at most 12.9% down to 8.5%. This is very disheartening to an individual who is disabled, sick, dealing with financial and medical concerns, and in need of assistance. Representing claimants in Social Security and VA disability is what we do, and we want to help you.
If you have a claim for disability please call one of the experienced disability representatives at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.