For most working adults, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are a last resort. They will exhaust every other means of providing for themselves before they seek benefits and will only apply when a health issue is so severe that they can’t find any other way to support themselves.
If you have recently come to realize that your health concerns are permanent issues and that you can’t continue working to support yourself or your family, having SSDI benefits available to you thanks to years of employment contributions will likely provide a profound sense of relief.
Unfortunately, getting SSDI benefits is a notoriously difficult process. One of the most pervasive urban legends about SSDI benefits is the myth that every applicant gets rejected initially. Although many people do not get benefits when they want them, at least some applicants will be successful when they apply. What is the approval rate for SSDI benefits?
Only a fraction of applicants get approved
The harsh truth is that while not every applicant gets rejected, the vast majority of them do. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides data about its approval rates for the public. From 2010 to 2019, initial applications averaged a 21% approval rate.
Nearly 80% of applicants received a rejection notice after applying. The good news is that the initial approval rate is not the final approval rate. There are appeals available for those initially denied benefits. The appeals process results in another 10% of applicants eventually collecting benefits.
Every year, roughly 2% of applicants receive benefits approval after a formal reconsideration, and another 8% will get benefits after having a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
Both applying and appealing are worthwhile endeavors
As you can likely infer from the approval rate, it is still worth your time to submit an SSDI application when you can no longer work to support yourself. Given that you could receive backdated benefits after a successful appeal, many people also find it to be worthwhile to pursue an appeal after a failed application attempt.
Getting the right support when applying for SSDI benefits will help you manage the stress and red tape involved in securing the financial help you currently need.