This is an impossible question to answer with certainty because of the number of factors that go into a Social Security Disability decision. These factors include but are not limited to: your age, your education, your work history, your type of disabilities, your earnings record, the medical evidence submitted in support of the claim, and even the Administrative Law Judge assigned to your claim.
That being said, I like to tell my clients, “I would not have taken your case if I did not think there was some way of winning it.” This is because I do not earn a fee unless the claimant is granted disability benefits.
All that being said, you may be interested in the following statistics and data points to evaluate your chance of winning disability benefits. There are several valuable resources on the web to research the statistical chance of approval based on last year’s claims and your Administrative Law Judge’s approval rate. Below are some of these resources:
Social Security Administration Statistics for Fiscal Year 2021:
- There were 1,943,578 applications for disability. 36% of the applications were allowed; 64% were denied;
- Only 503,669 of the approximately 1,243,889 that were denied filed the first Social Security Disability appeal called a Request for Reconsideration. Of these, only 13% were allowed benefits. 87% continued to be denied;
- 301,378 claimants filed a second appeal requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Of these, 51% were allowed, 8% were dismissed, and 42% were denied.
- Of those that continued to be denied, 77,879 claimants filed a third appeal with the Appeals Council. Of these, only 1% were allowed, 2% were dismissed, 11% were remanded or returned to the judge for further consideration, and 85% continued to be denied; and
- 17,405 of those denied by the Appeals Council filed a federal lawsuit against The Commissioner for the Social Security Administration in a United States District Court. Of these, only 1% were allowed, 7% were dismissed, 59% were remanded for further consideration, and 34% were denied.
The above statistics are for all claims nationwide. The next document lists the Allowance Rates at the Initial and Reconsideration Adjudicative Level by Year, Month, Nation, Region, and State. Claims at the Initial and Reconsideration Adjudicative Level are decided by disability determination services rather than an ALJ.
As you can see, in April 2022 in the state of Florida, 39.9% of all claims were approved at the initial application stage; 60.1% were denied at this stage. And only 15.7% of claims were approved at the reconsideration stage (the first Social Security Disability appeal); 84.3% were denied:
A CSV dataset containing monthly data can be downloaded from the Social Security Administration’s website.
Social Security’s Own Administrative Law Judge Disposition Data
Social Security provides you with the “disposition data” for all Administrative Law Judges “ALJ”s across the country. This data includes the following information for each Judge:
- Hearing Office Assignment (the ALJ’s hearing office, or home office);
- Dispositions (the number of decisions the ALJ has issued);
- Total ALJ Dispositions Across All Offices (the ALJ may have issued decisions in another jurisdiction or office);
- Decisions (number of decisions issued);
- Awards (number of cases that were granted, or won);
- Denials (number of cases that were denied);
- Fully Favorable (number of wins where the claimant won every issue or argument); and
- Partially Favorable (number of wins where the claimant won, but only some of the issues).
In short, if you know the name of the Judge assigned to your claim, you can determine your exact “chance” of being approved to receive disability benefits with that judge.
For Mobile, Dothan, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and other cities in Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama, the hearing office you should review is for Mobile, Alabama. This hearing office covers Social Security Disability claims in our area.
Hearing Office and Administrative Law Judge Statistics
You can visit the Disability Judges website for statistics about hearing offices and judges that have already been computed for you. You can search by the Judge’s name for statistics about that individual judge. Or you can click the “View Data For All States” button to try and find a judge or a Hearing Office by State. The information here does not apply to claims at the Initial and Reconsideration Adjudicative Level of the disability appeal process which is decided by disability determination services.