Denied Disability Benefits? Now what?

Most people who apply for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) are denied the first time. The chances of getting approved for benefits improve for individuals who take the time to appeal a denial.

SSDI Application outcomes pie chart, 2011-2020 Averages. 67% Denied, 21% Approved Initially, 2% Approved after Reconsideration, 8% Approved after Hearing, 2% "other".

*The data cited comes from the SSA Annual Statistical Report for 2021, and is an average of outcomes from 2011-2020.

As this pie chart shows, 67% of people who applied for SSDI never ended up getting approved for benefits, even after appealing.

Of those who appealed to the Hearing level or beyond, over 50% were finally approved. Persistence pays!

If you're wondering what this "Hearing" is and how you can get one, let's review the stages of appeals for disability benefits.  Or, if you just want to let the professionals help you, just contact Balin Law!  Reach us via chat 24/7, call us at 866-492-2546, or send us a message.

The Stages of Appeals

Example disability denial letter from Social Security with “Notice of Disapproved claim” circled in red at the top, just below "Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance" When Social Security denies your claim for disability benefits, you will get a “Notice of Disapproved claim” letter, like the one shown here.

Around 78-80% of applicants will receive a Notice of Disapproved claim letter.

The 1st appeal is the Request for Reconsideration. The outcomes of this first appeal are rarely favorable. Around 90% of these appeals are denied again.

The 2nd appeal is a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is when people are most likely to finally hire an attorney. It's assumed that's why this is also the most successful stage. Around 45-55% of people who appeal to the hearing level finally get awarded their disability benefits.  For those who do not, there is one last appeal level within Social Security.

The 3rd appeal is a Request for Review of Hearing, which is done by the Appeals Council. If your case is denied or dismissed by the Social Security Appeals Council, the only remaining option is a Federal Review.

The 4th and final appeal is in federal district court. At this stage, you are taking civil action against the Social Security Administration. You are suing the government agency.  At Balin Law, we are absolutely willing to take your case to a Federal Review if you should have been awarded benefits.  Balin Law is one of the very few disability firms that will take cases to federal court, and we will even take cases that another attorney was unsuccessful in winning.


Disability Appeals Process for SSD and SSI - Appeal #1: Reconsideration. Appeal #2: Hearing with ALJ. #3: Appeals Council. #4: Federal Court - civil action.

Disability Appeals FAQ's