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How many applicants actually receive SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are a crucial federal program that helps protect those with disabling medical conditions from absolute poverty. SSDI benefits can help people pay their basic expenses when they have health issues that prevent them from working while they are still too young to qualify for retirement benefits.

There is a lot of misinformation shared about SSDI benefits that could prevent people from getting the support they need when they have health issues. One of the most prevalent claims people make about SSDI benefits is that basically everyone who applies gets denied and won’t end up with benefits even though they have obviously debilitating medical conditions.

Is it true that almost everyone who applies ends up struggling without SSDI benefits?

Approval rates are low but not non-existent

There is a little truth to the claim that many people don’t get benefits, but plenty of people are successful when they apply. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides reports on the outcome of disability claims for the purpose of organizational transparency. The most recent report looking at approval rates shows that a significant percentage of applicants do receive rejection notices.

Between 2010 and 2019, the SSA averaged an approval rate of just 21% for initial applications. In other words, nearly four-fifths of the people who applied received rejection notices after submitting their initial application and medical documentation to the SSA. However, many of those denied applicants appealed, and some of them were successful.

The SSA reports an average of 2% of applicants securing benefits after the reconsideration stage of their appeal, while another 8% of applicants on average will get benefits after a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The final benefits approval rate for SSDI between 2010 and 2019 was 31%. Roughly one-third of applicants got benefits, and the remainder did not.

Both applying and appealing are worthwhile endeavors

Even if a majority of applicants don’t receive benefits, a significant portion of people who apply do. The percentage of claims approved on appeal also makes pursuing every option for appeal a smart decision for many people coping with a disabling medical condition.

Learning more about SSDI benefits and how the SSA operates can help those preparing to apply because of a disabling medical condition.